Leave it to LA to forever put to bed the notion that vegan food is for hippies in muumuus and Birkenstocks – instead, white tablecloths and a ritzy Melrose Avenue address set the scene for the newly-opened Crossroads restaurant, where there is nary a typical tofu dish in sight.
Headed up by chef Tal Ronnen, famously hailed by Oprah as the ‘best Vegan chef in America’, Crossroads serves up seasonal, ‘plant-based’ cuisine that perfectly fits the Angeleno MO of feel-good, waistline-friendly fare in a swanky see-and-be-seen setting.
The main and private dining rooms, featuring tufted round booths, polished wooden bar, an antique glass wall and original Toulouse-Lautrec print, are as visually pleasing as the flavours on the plates are astonishing.
To a seasoned carnivore, the surprise is in how expertly Ronnen is able to showcase the vegetable as the star of the dish, rather than relegating it to the usual place as a standard, secondary side to something more meaty or carb-y.
Take the playful ‘artichoke oysters’, with artichoke puree, crispy ‘oyster’ mushroom, yellow tomato Béarnaise and kelp caviar, or the ‘crab cakes’ with hearts of palm, apples, beets and horseradish cream. The cocktails are equally inventive, with concoctions like the must-try Melrose Mule, featuring fair trade ginger beer, cucumber, mint and banana pepper. OMG, going vegan is like, sooo the next big thing in LA!