Are you ready to hear my dirty little secret? I don’t like most vegetarian restaurants.
There. I said it. The cat’s out of the bag. (Though admittedly, the bag was pretty flimsy to start with.)
My partner and just enjoyed a long—and painfully overdue—weekend at the Stanford. It’s a gorgeous lodge. Nice rooms with wood burning fireplaces, beautifully kept grounds and friendly people. They’re responsible innkeepers who respect the planet, compost their waste, and recycle everything. Plus, they’re animal lovers, just like me, so you can bring your dog along for an extra thirty-five bucks. (We did. She loved it.) So in keeping with the “kindness to all living creatures” thing, they have a vegetarian and vegan restaurant called The Ravens. And frankly, I’m just not that into it.
I know, I know! I’m waiting for a lightening bolt to strike me dead in my tracks as I write this, but I’ve got to tell it like it is. People are cutting the place way too much slack because it’s vegetarian. And I don’t want to play that way. If I’m going to rag on the mainstream restaurant world for not doing right by vegetarians, I can’t let veggie joints off the hook just because their politics agree with my own.
The food was flat, y’all. The red bell pepper coulis on my Lasagna Fresca was bitter to the point of distracting. My partner had the Tamales, which came with a big side of rice, and amounted to a giant pile of flavorless carbs.
And here’s the other thing. The menu was freakin’ all over the place. No focus, no vision, just a lack of meat as the unifying principle. Sadly, I found this to be true at a lot of vegetarian restaurants. Now don’t get me wrong—I love it when I get to order freely off a menu. It’s a nice change of pace. But tighten it up, people! Show me a point of view. It shouldn’t be “Good, for vegetarian food.” It should be “Good food, period.”
So go stay at the Stanford. It’s a wonderful, relaxing, beautiful place. Just beware that their restaurant gets an A for politics and a C for execution.
*The scones are good in the morning, though. I’ll give them that.