after dinner sneeze

a lot of g says, t says

vedge-ing out

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t says:  A few weeks ago, g’s colleague had to turn down a reservation at Vedge.  g was all over it like white on rice, having agreed to go well before even checking to see if I was free.  Fortunately for me, I was free!  And so off to Vedge we went … after years and years of wanting to go …

September 2013, Friday Dinner, Party of 3.  I didn’t quite know what to expect on the inside – I had never seen pictures of the dining room.  In my dreams, I imagined a small restaurant, with cute framed pictures of bizarre vegetables (either black-and-white photos or hand-drawn/painted), and displays of antiquated gardening equipment … ok – not really … but I guess my point is that whatever I thought could have been inside the restaurant was in fact not.  It actually was quite classy in there!  Lots of rich tones of brown against gleaming white.  No clutter, no frills.  This was a nice restaurant – not “expensive” nice, rather, “date” nice.  Did not see that coming …

And the food?  Well, I was quite lost on the menu because there were at least 17 things I wanted to try.  It was good we had three people, because between the three of us, we were able to order 10 items (and dessert!).  But rather than show you EVERYTHING we got, I’ll give you a small sampling:

    fancy radishes": this was an amazing array of radishes that is photographed extraordinarily poorly. I have to say that I did not think I could possibly enjoy radishes this much - but I can see why this dish is often compared to a sashimi platter in terms of its beauty.  The leg up that it has over sashimi is that the textural differences between the different radishes and preparations are all over the place - so it was quite the adventure! (not that raw fish don't have different textures ...)  This one probably wins my award for best dish of the evening.

“fancy radishes”: this was an amazing array of radishes that is photographed extraordinarily poorly. I have to say that I did not think I could possibly enjoy radishes this much – but I can see why this dish is often compared to a sashimi platter in terms of its beauty. The leg up that it has over sashimi is that the textural differences between the different radishes and preparations are all over the place – so it was quite the adventure! (not that raw fish don’t have different textures …) This one probably wins my award for best dish of the evening.

carrot

carrot: I often joke about vedge, saying “why would I want to eat a carrot for dinner?”  And this is the answer: carrots “shwarma style”.  I have no idea what “shwarma style” means, but I know this carrot was nicely seasoned and served with some black lentils that g just could not get enough of!  For me, I dock it some points because I’m not a carrot fan (I’m not sure that’s fair but I don’t care), but as far as carrot goes, the texture was beautiful and the non-carrot flavors were right-on … BUT … I couldn’t help but wish the carrot was replaced with a piece of pork belly/shoulder/cheek.

Other dishes included an eggplant “braciole” that was my second favorite dish of the evening, and the Brussels sprouts side dish that was served up like a small salad but with such a fresh flavor that it kept g coming back for more and more.  We did, however, get a grilled tofu that was super-disappointing (despite the gouchuchang it boasted in the ingredient list, there was no flavor!).  The desserts, on the other hand, were uniformly awesome.  The chocolate uber chunk hand us swooning for that malt custard that was like a budino gone rogue.  And then there was the strawberry sorrel bread pudding which was the perfect light-and-lively accompaniment to the rich chocolate uber chunk.

So do I agree with one Mr. Trey Popp that “Vedge might be one of the best restaurants in America. period?”  Nope.  Can’t say I do.  Is it a good restaurant?  Sure!  Is it a great restaurant?  Maybe!  But to say it is flat-out one of the best in America?  Geez.  That’s tough.  I think that Vedge gets some big points for cooking precision – every vegetable was prepared to perfection – not a single bite I had was felt to be under- or over-done.  They did a nice job with seasoning as well.  Additionally, given the sheer quantity of vegetables, I have to say that my gastrointestinal health was probably the best after that one meal than it’s been for the past decade.  BUT – does that mean that every dish was a symphony of flavors that blew me away?  Not really.  It was more like a carnival – I wanted to go on every ride and after finishing each ride, it’s not like I wanted to go on any particular ride again and again, rather, I just wanted to go and check out the next ride.  So, in short, maybe I’d like to go speed-dating at Vedge, but then marry Bibou’s pig’s foot?  Hm – that’s a weird metaphor … but you know what – I typed it, so I’m leaving it there!

g says: … but I wanna be the lentils …

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Written by afterdinnersneeze

11 October 2013 at 7:51pm

Posted in in Philadelphia, Restaurant Reviews

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