Eating Your Vegetables Is Easy at Veggie Grill San Jose
By Emma Krasov, photography by Yuri Krasov
With San Jose recently making the news as the healthiest city in the United States, there is no coincidence that the first Northern California location of Veggie Grill opened right here in the upscale shopping, dining, and entertainment center, Santana Row.
Veggie Grill, the unusually healthy fast food restaurant, serves the ever-popular American diner staples—only they are 100-percent plant-based and free of animal fat, dairy, cholesterol, trans fats, and high-fructose corn syrup.
How do they do that? Breaking the stereotype of boring vegetarian chow, Veggie Grill chefs create little masterpieces out of protein- and fiber-rich grains and legumes, brightly colored fresh vegetables and herbs, and unusual spices that add a special touch of deliciousness to the restaurant’s salads, sandwiches, soups, and sauces.
The feel-good culinary adventure starts with an uplifting interior design in vibrant colors of red, orange, and salad-green; sustainable bamboo tables and wall panels; oversized, patterned globes of light fixtures; and a busy open kitchen led by the executive chef Miguel Gonzalez.
The attentive staff members, clad in white T-shirts and orange aprons, greet visitors at the door and deliver kale and sweet potato delights while maneuvering among the cozily laid out tables and booths. Families with children, groups of friends, and couples are steadily flocking in on a busy shopping weekend.
If you are dining with your sweetheart, and even if you don’t have one, Sweetheart Fries made from sweet potatoes and complimented by chipotle ranch dressing are sure to warm your heart.
Buffalo wings with celery sticks are as traditionally spicy and addictive as the best of their kind; it will take you some time to realize that they are not chicken wings but rather made of Chickin’, a blend of soy beans, wheat, peas, and other vegetable proteins. Tossed in a spicy buffalo sauce they look and taste like boneless chicken wings—and are as satisfactory.
The All Hail Kale salad with strips of blackened Chickin’ is one of the most popular items on the menu. Thinly chopped and marinated for 24 hours, healthful kale is joined on a festive plate by red cabbage, corn salsa, agave-roasted walnuts, and ginger-papaya vinaigrette.
Another crowd pleaser is Santa Fe Crispy Chickin’ sandwich, a lightly breaded, fried Chickin’ “filet” topped with fresh guacamole on a toasted wheat bun and served with all the trimmings: shredded lettuce, tomato, red onion, a pile of sweet potato fries, and even spicy vegan mayo for dipping. It makes a meal with a side of cauli-mashed potatoes and a glass of iced tea or lemonade.
Veggie Grill offers a variety of gluten-free, soy-free, and nut-free options, plus kids’ meals and a selection of beer and wine. The restaurant offers dine-in, take-out, and catering.
Veggie Grill at Santana Row is located at 3055 Olin Avenue in San Jose. It is open Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and on Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. For more information, call (408) 296-6473 or visit the website.