Vedge is somewhere you can get perfectly charred carrots for your main course, have shallots diced and sprinkled in a garlicky soup, or drink celery blended in a bourbon cocktail. The plant-based restaurant that’s been around since 2011 seems like they’re constantly on a mission to prove that vegetables have more utility than a universal remote. And while we no longer think Vedge is one of the best restaurants in town, it's still a place where it's easy to have a good meal that will always leave you satisfied.
The food is the only aspect that has taken a slight step back in the past few years. Vedge still has the same wood floors, a cozy fireplace in the main dining space, and tables that are surrounded by colorful stained-glass windows. Because of this, you might think a meal at Vedge costs the same as a ticket to a Coachella. But with the most expensive entree going for $22, you can easily bring a few friends here for a birthday dinner without spending too much. It’s more than just the pricing and vegan menu that set this spot apart from the other Center City restaurants nearby though. They make dishes with whipped turnips and thin garbanzo crêpes that will make you slightly surprised that they can do all of this with the same vegetables you can get from a quick run to the market.
photo credit: Rachel Lerro
You’ll want to go for a couple of small plates and three mains, especially since the portions run small. The dishes can range from light ones like smoked golden beets floating in a refreshing cucumber aquachile to heartier choices like their spicy dan dan noodles. Most of the elements on these plates complement each other really well, like the way the crunchy rice and the smooth avocado work in harmony in their stuffed avocado dish, or how the pastrami spice gives their grilled broccoli a peppery kick.
photo credit: Rachel Lerro
Although the restaurant is often packed and some dishes look like the kind of things you’d find in Bobby Flay's upcoming vegetarian cookbook, the recent meals we’ve had here don’t have us thinking about them a few days later. Dishes like the grilled broccoli, fingerling potatoes, and campfire carrots come with glazes or sauces that add some garcliky and sometimes peppery flavor. But, unlike some of the other places that define eating in the city like Zahav or Vetri, we're not waking up the next morning thinking about mushroom carpaccio like we do when Rihanna drops a new photo. Because of this, dinner at this spot isn’t worth canceling your plans.
Even so, when coming to Vedge, you can always expect really good plant-based comfort food in a relaxed setting where you won’t have to struggle to book a reservation. It’s a key place to come for a casual meal if you’re vegetarian or vegan, or if your love for plants goes beyond the flower section of your local market.
This dish has a few things going for it: the crunch that comes from the crispy rice, the bits of pickled cauliflower, and the fact that it looks almost as colorful as a Crayola box set. More like an inverted avocado salad, they slice one avocado in half to make it, so if you’re ordering it for a large table, order a few of these.
We know that when you’re trying to impress a date, dunking a warm soft pretzel cube into a fondue isn’t always the best way to go. But the creamy rutabaga spread is buttery and sweet and worth the need to grab a napkin or two.
One of their signature dishes, this charcoal-flavored carrot looks as roasted as a log in the fire. And yet, it's surprisingly juicy. The carrots also come with tangy black lentils and pickled cabbage, and get glazed in a garlicky coating that brings the dish together.
Spicy Dan Dan Noodles
This is the only noodle dish on the menu, and it’s creamy, tossed with vinegary trumpet mushrooms, and gets just the right amount of heat from the Sichuan peppers. A bowl of these scallion-topped noodles isn’t as memorable as the fondue, but it’s a nice switch-up from all the chunks of vegetables in the other meals.
Braised Market Greens
When you come here on a chilly night, or when only a brothy bowl of phở is what you need to get you through the rest of the week, get a side of the braised market greens. There’s some fragrant Thai basil, crispy shallots, and tender honshimeji mushrooms in here, and it’s so warming that it does a better job than any puffer jacket could.