Vedge Restaurant Celebrates Gourmet Vegan Cuisine
PHILADELPHIA, PA (November 2011) - Rich Landau made an impact as the first chef to cook a Vegan dinner at the James Beard House. Being invited back, left an even bigger one. Now, Landau and wife /partner Kate Jacoby, the great minds behind the long lived Philadelphia favorite, Horizons, open their new restaurant, Vedge on November 21, 2011.
Vedge sits centrally located in the West Washington Square neighborhood, one of the city’s most desired neighborhoods. The couple closed Horizons earlier this year to breathe new life into the Philadelphia restaurant community with Vedge. Like Horizons, Vedge is a vegan restaurant but the couple’s intention is to take vegan cuisine beyond the vegans and has made a menu that is both accessible and appealing to the masses. As executive chef, Landau’s culinary skill lies in being able to manipulate vegetables and vegan ingredients to stimulate and satisfy the palates of the mainstream dining audience.
"We’re about vegetables and making delicious food with them." Executive chef and owner, Landau said in regards to his new menu creation. "We believe that our menu has made vegan food accessible to everyone, in fact you don’t even know its vegan unless we tell you, but that’s the point."
The menu at Vedge is innovative, fresh and delectable. Landau is a master at creating craveable vegetable cuisine that keeps diners returning. Small, sharable plates are perfect for bar snacks or whetting the palate. Simple but defined, these dishes like the Smoked Caponata on Crostini, Peel n Eat Luppini Beans are seasoned to perfection and are unlike any vegetable dish out there. Main plates are much more intricate and will update with the available bounty as the seasons change.
The Honshimeji is prepared beach-style, with saffron, celery and red bliss potatoes, and has a satisfying seafood broth flavor that Landau discovered is possible when reducing the mushrooms down with white wine, saffron and tomato. The Portobello Carpaccio, served with salsa rustica, arugula crema, olive oil and crostini, is decidedly smoky; its earthy and sensual flavor is achieved by smoking the mushrooms in house, a technique used often in the Vedge kitchen. The menu is a reflection of Landau’s strong and unique perception of food paired with high-quality ingredients; a method resulting in a creative menu of refined vegetable fare.
Vedge also features a stellar vegan pastry menu leaving diners sweetly satisfied. Owner and executive pastry chef, Jacoby, showcases her talent by creating classic favorites like her famous vegan cheesecake served with figgy-quince jam and "honey smacks."
"Vegan desserts are surprisingly easy if you understand the fundamentals of baking," said Jacoby. "From there, we focus on bringing together fresh flavors and textures to keep our desserts as interesting and appealing as our savory menu items."
Unlike many Philadelphia restaurants, Vedge features a full bar, and is not lacking any creativity in their handcrafted libations. Like the food, the cocktails are craveable, unique and playful. Guest can sip on the perfectly bubbly Lizzy Taylor made with Rothman & Winters crème de violette, Bele Casel Prosecco and lemon or the innovative Rob Ruiz made with a stellar combination of Del Maguey mezcal, Vya sweet vermouth, and house made cherry cola bitters.
Jacoby, who wears many hats at Vedge, including Beverage Director, created a wine list that focuses on small producers with old world style. Not forgetting the importance of a winning beer list, Jacoby has taken care to incorporate handcrafted, artisan brews.
Vedge resides in a historical building that hosted the Princeton Club from the early 1900’s to the 1970’s. In 1980 it was added to the National Register of Historic Places and was commandeered by another chef up until that restaurant shuttered. Landau and Jacoby hopped on the opportunity when the building became available and there lies the conception of Vedge. The building remains largely untouched and still hosts the original flooring, stained glass windows and five fire places.
Fresh wall paper, modern furniture and a Vegetable Bar, update the space while maintaining its lovely historical features. The Vegetable Bar, much like a traditional sushi bar, fills one of the three dining areas. All cold dishes are prepared in full view, giving diners a look into how intricate vegetable dishes can be.
Vedge will open November 21, 2011 and is located at 1221 Locust St, Philadelphia, PA 19107. Hours are Monday - Saturday 5 PM to 10 PM. Visit www.vedgerestaurant.com