Review: Plant Food + Wine (Venice, Los Angeles, CA)

Plant Food + Wine is everything I want in a dining concept;  elegant, elevated plant-based fare accompanied by a stellar wine list and pairings.  Vegan without imitating meat and dairy, but instead highlighting the overlooked awesomeness in every individual fruits, vegetables, grains, and nuts.  My friends and I stalked the restaurant’s Instagram account in the weeks leading up to our trip to LA to visit a friend, drooling over every image of their food. Through my stalking a found the mastermind behind it all, Matthew Kenney, and learned he has a whole slew of elevated plant-based restaurants around the world, some focusing on elegant plant-based Neapolitan pizzas (Double Zero in NYC), some on Mediterranean cuisine (Xyst, also in NYC), and a handful of others around the world.  If you checkout his website, you can see he has a whole lifestyle brand stemming from this focus on elevated plant-based cuisine.  But let me get into this particular dining experience at Plant Food + Wine before I start rambling about all of the dope elements of this brand…

Atmosphere is everything here.  It’s very LA – white, natural wood details, fairy lights, you know exactly the vibe I’m talking about.  It is key to get a table on the outdoor patio.  The four of us sat at the communal table in the center, which is a table concept I have loved since my first trips to Le Pan Quotidian and Community Food & Juice (NYC) where I have had awesome discussions with people sitting next to me that resulted in unforgettable dining experiences.

Being the only non-meat eater in our group, I wasn’t entirely sure how into this take on plant-based cuisine my friends would be, but they loved it. Plant Food + Wine is a great spot to bring anyone, and especially any faux meat and cheesy wary friends – some meat lovers are very turned off by imitation soy products, and I do understand that feeling (but you bet I’m still eating it).

I cannot even begin to recount who ordered what exactly, because we just pointed at dishes we found interesting and split them all as they came out (the four of us split five desserts, needless to say).  Excuse the quality of some of these photos – as we got towards dessert (and through the bottles of wine), my pictures clearly decrease in quality… Too busy relishing in this incredible experience!

   

 Above on the left are appetizers of egglplant and cauliflower in some of the best sauces I have ever tasted.  The consensus between the four of us was that the cauliflower dish had the most noteworthy flavor – seriously, pour me a bath of that the sauce.  On the right are kimchi dumplings – one of the most aesthetically appealing dishes they have to offer.

    

Left, is something I am extremely interesting in – the nut-based plant-based cheese plate.  The cheese plate is so crucial regarding wine consumption and I am hellbent on finding the best non-soy based alternatives that anyone would opt for regardless of their diet preferences. Fun to try as an experiment here, but ultimately only one of the nut-based cheeses kept us reaching for more.  The other appetizers outshine the cheese/”nut spread” plate without question.  On the right, one of the entrees is a kale polenta bowl that they artfully plated by spreading the polenta into a layer around the bowl and placing a salad of sorts inside.

   

Above are two more entree; left, a peanut sort of curry and on the right, the iconic zucchini lasagna.

And finally, the onslaught of desserts.  Mint chocolate ice cream sandwiches, parfaits, ice cream, chocolate cheese cakes… dairy was not missed.

In summation: go.  Next on my list are Double Zero and Xyst… (possibly next weekend when I am back in NY!)

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