When’s the last time you got truly excited by a carrot? Like genuinely pumped about eating a carrot? Like, “holy sh*t this is not just a carrot, but a gift from the one true God above that definitely exists and we’re having a full philosophical awakening in the middle of a sentence” - all that, but about a carrot? If your answer to those questions is “never in my life”, then you’ve clearly never been to Vedge.
Vedge is a restaurant in Midtown Village that does things with vegetables you’ve definitely never seen before. Things that will make you question everything you think you know about carrots, tomatoes, and mushrooms. It’s a creative powerhouse that has been topping “best restaurant” lists around the country since it opened in 2011, and everything it makes is entirely vegan. But being vegan isn’t what sets Vedge apart. What sets Vedge apart is the fact that they use being vegan as a fun little challenge for themselves to make things more interesting. Kind of like when you were little and got too good at jumping rope so you decided to add a second rope into the mix - just to see if you could do it. And, let us tell you, Vedge can double dutch better than any other place around.
You’re going to eat a lot of vegetables when you come to Vedge, but sometimes you won’t even recognize them. You’ll see things like “fancy radishes,” which do, in fact, look fancy, and you’ll probably want to take their picture. They’ll be flattered. You’ll also eat some heartier dishes, like the wood-roasted carrot, that we would like to put in a ring with the best steak you can remember eating, just to watch your face when the carrot wins in a quick KO. It’s not so much the variety that sets the food here apart - plenty of other places serve roast carrots - but the quality and attention to detail are what make the dishes at Vedge special. They’re complete dishes built around what is usually one simple vegetable, just done in a way you’d never expect, and it’s completely fascinating.
Eating at Vedge is also a really casual and relaxed experience, especially for a restaurant that’s one of the city’s top fine dining spots. It’s located inside a big Victorian townhouse, but is dressed down with a long bar right by the front door and wood tables that aren’t covered by white tablecloths. The waitstaff generally wear jeans, and don’t take themselves (or the food) too seriously as well, which is a nice break from some other special occasion spots where you’ll get a waiter who tells you exactly how you eat your fish, as if you’ve never used a fork and knife before. All of these factors - combined with having some of the absolute best food around - make Vedge an outstanding restaurant.
So if you’re wondering what it’s like to have a religious awakening that stems from a carrot, we suggest you get to Vedge as quickly as possible. Or if you just enjoy eating really good food - that’s a good reason to come here as well.
We never thought anything vegan could live up to a well-executed beef carpaccio. We were wrong.
A bit heavy on the avocado, but that aside, this all works together really well. It’s a fan favorite here, and we’d say 90% of the tables around you will order one. You should probably follow suit.
On a menu that’s very vegetable-heavy, this dish delivers some much needed carbs. It’s one of our favorite things here, and probably the least healthy. Whatever, it’s great. Get it.
One of the heartier plates you can get here, the carrot doesn’t pretend to be anything it’s not. Because it’s a carrot, and carrots are inanimate objects. Everything on the plate works together really well, and it’s actually pretty filling. Get this.
This is a really good pasta dish that’s made with Israeli couscous. Get it to break up the vegetables if you ignored our advice and skipped over the fondue, but it’s not a must order.
Light, shareable, and excellent. This section of the menu changes seasonally, so we can’t promise you’ll see the dish in this form. They usually have some rendition of squash on the menu, though, and we suggest you order it.
Contrary to the title, this dish isn’t a bowl of Brussels sprouts. It’s more of a stew with a potato crepe on top. It may be a cop out to even call this dish Brussels sprouts, but it’s also better than almost all of the Brussels sprout bowls we’ve had in recent memory, so we’re not complaining.
There aren’t many things you could do to a maitake mushroom to ruin it for us, but that being said, we ate all of this and then debated for 15 minutes whether to get dessert or another mushroom. We opted for dessert, this time.
When this comes out, you may have a small twinge of sadness at how small the portion is. It’s so rich, though, that after a few bites, you’ll probably have to put your spoon down and take some deep breaths before diving back in. It also kind of tastes like s’mores without the campfire, which makes us question the existence of camping in the first place.
We prefer the mud pie to this, but if you’re a carrot cake person or a dessert person or if you’re just a person, that’s okay too. Where were we? Oh right, order this.