• vegan tasting menu at xiv in los angeles.

    February 19th, 2009quarrygirlLA restaurants, xiv

    finally, finally, finally, there’s high end vegan dining available in los angeles. in a city with so many options, vegans are used to real food daily being a “fancy” place with its small portions and $17 burgers. now thanks to celebrity chef michael mina and restaurant group sbe, la vegans can dine amongst the affluent and enjoy a 5 star meal off an entirely animal-free menu at xiv on sunset boulevard.

    xiv offers a tasting menu experience, where everyone at the table orders the same thing, and several small plates are served throughout the evening. each individual plate is $8, so the bill adds up quite rapidly. like most other upscale restaurants, the xiv menu contains unspeakable dishes such as caviar parfait, crispy pork belly and even foie gras terrine. however for herbivores, xiv offers an entirely separate 100% vegan menu with 27 courses to choose from. the vegan menu isn’t available anywhere online (until now) and they only present it upon request. i don’t know why they keep it so hush hush, because it’s absolutely amazing. as of now, i think it’s la’s best kept vegan secret.

    while it’s not a habit of mine to eat at restaurants that serve the disgusting meat items mentioned above, the vegan menu at xiv is so impressive that i had to give it a try. plus, i really would like to support whole-heartedly any elitist eatery that puts such an effort towards creating an animal-free menu. my husband and i decided to hit up xiv last weekend, along with another fine couple, lex and kristin of vegan-la, who had already been to the restaurant and could show us the ropes.

    after some incredible ginger beer and hendrick’s cocktails, our table of four started with the japanese mountain caviar, which looked so much like actual caviar that lex had to assure me that it was in fact vegan.

    japanese mountain caviar. shaved radish, onion caramel. $8

    japanese mountain caviar. shaved radish, onion caramel. $8

    i’m still not sure exactly what japanese caviar is made of, but it’s one of the tastiest and most unique vegan dishes i’ve ever tried. it looks eerily like fish and even has a salty taste, but it’s so light and fluffy, i swear it will win you over. the plate was both delicious and well-presented and came garnished with delicate and fresh asian vegetables.

    cauliflower tempura. passion fruit, edamame, almonds. $8

    cauliflower tempura. passion fruit, edamame, almonds. $8

    for a second course, we chose the cauliflower tempura, which really was incredible. it had a very distinct taste that none of us could put our finger on, until kristin exclaimed, “oh my god, this tastes EXACTLY like cheetos!” sure enough, she was right. that old-school cheesy flavor came rushing back to my brain and i tasted it in a whole new way. these were like fancy little fried califlower cheetos. totally insane.

    salt & pepper bok choy. glass noodles, carrots, sprouts, ginger. $8

    salt & pepper bok choy. glass noodles, carrots, sprouts, ginger. $8

    next up was the salt and pepper bok choy. that maybe seemed a bit boring by the description, but i gotta tell you it was unbelievable. the baby bok choy was light, fragile and seasoned to perfection atop the thinnest and most delicious glass noodles.

    pine nut terrine. cranberry, cardamom, flatbread. $8

    pine nut terrine. cranberry, cardamom, flatbread. $8

    the next course, and quite possibly my favorite, was the pine nut terrine. this dish consisted of a small nutty block along with crisp sheets of flatbread and a cranberry sauce. a high-class pb & j sandwich, if you will.

    sushi cake with greens (in place of grilled fennel) $8

    sushi cake with greens (in place of grilled fennel) $8

    our next dish was supposed to be the grilled fennel with curry and sea beans. unfortunately, they were out of that but supplied us instead with a delicious broccoli sushi cake with chillies and greens. the little rice patty was incredibly tasty, and the sauteed chillies added a definite punch of heat.

    hen of the wood mushrooms. broccoli, macaroni pasta. $8

    hen of the wood mushrooms. broccoli, macaroni pasta. $8

    we next ordered the hen of the wood mushrooms. this was absolutely divine! the mushrooms, broccoli, and fried little bits of god-know-what-were all cooked absolutely perfectly.

    stuffed brussels sprouts. onion, shitake, huckleberry. $8

    stuffed brussels sprouts. onion, shitake, huckleberry. $8

    for our last course we had the stuffed brussels sprouts. these came with a fine mix of vegetables, and were stuffed with some truly incredible and savory insides. you can’t really see it in the picture, but the little brussels sprouts were absolutely tiny and so perfectly filled, so much skill must have gone into the preparation.

    chocolate leather dessert. $8

    chocolate leather dessert. $8

    when it came time to order dessert, we really didn’t care for the options advertised on the menu. the two choices consisted of mostly fruit, and we were in the mood for something a bit more decadent. lex asked the waiter if the chef could make us something vegan and extremely chocolatey. of course xiv came up with some of the best sweet-tooth-satisfying stuff i’ve ever had.


    the chocolate leather consisted of long strips of luscious confection sliced into thin and malleable sheets. this was all drizzled with creamy caramel sauce and garnished with a thick chocolate ball that burst out with flavor the moment it was crunched. seriously. one of the best fucking desserts i’ve ever tasted.

    the food at xiv is absolutely mind-blowing, so naturally the prices are as well. our 8 course vegan meal along with cocktails ended up costing the four of us a whopping $360. while that may sound like a lot, i can tell you it was definitely worth it. i mean, just have a look at the menu:


    to all my los angeles vegan friends, i really can’t recommend xiv highly enough. the quality and ambience are completely unmatched. such skill goes into preparing each dish, and the food is created by a truly masterful chef. the atmosphere and service are also incredible, as you would expect from an extremely high end sbe establishment.

    so make a special occasion out of it, throw caution to the wind, and head to xiv for an extremely high caliber vegan tasting session. now we too can finally enjoy a 5 star dining experience like all our meat-eating friends.

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23 responses to “vegan tasting menu at xiv in los angeles.” RSS icon

  • I’m hittin’ it. Fennel always wins with me.

  • I’ve already started saving ready to go back. Was so good, I tell you…

  • I don’t know how you managed to take such fine photos in what appeared to be split seconds! This is just the most marvelous write up. We should have taken a picture of those Ginger Beer Cocktails, too. They were just as amazing as any of the courses. Reading over that menu I’m still in shock over the options. Mirepoix? Salsify? Chanterelles? “mind-blowing” sums it up quite well!!!

  • sooooooooooooooooooooo jealous!!!

  • Now, this is a restaurant I have a feeling I’ll only see in my dreams. 🙂 Thanks for bringing xiv to my attention.

  • Yowza! I don’t spend $360 on food a month. Hmmm, I’ll have to find a reason to celebrate something!

  • this looks amazing.
    i am so broke right now.
    this is like vegan torture

  • Oh, I’ve worked with Michael Mina on Gourmet magazine, he was SUPER nice. I want to go here, the food looks amazing.. but chocolate leather?! erm.

  • I’m totally down for the califlower and the chocolate thing! The photos of the decor on their website are also incredible.

  • Wow… what an adventure! Not one I’ll ever be able to afford, but wow!

    Everything looks amazing, especially the dessert. Fancy pants restaurant or not, I must admit that if I was served two Brussels sprouts on a plate, I’d be left wondering if the rest of my order maybe got dropped while on it’s way to my table from the kitchen 🙂

  • Sounds like it was great, but I would have a hard time supporting a restaurant that serves foie gras.

  • And why is my avatar always “the angry looking guy”?

  • Don’t feel bad Kevin. At least yours shows some confidence and power. Mine is a pathetic dweeb!!!

  • This looks great. I just moved to LA and am a sucker for “fine dining.” I’m pretty stoked on the stuffed brussels sprouts and I’d also like to try the pumpkin dumplings and the grilled chanterelles. Nice work to your friend Lex on the desserts.

  • Wow, looks very nice! I don’t know whether I’ll ever be able to eat such fancy food in this lifetime.

    (If you want to change your gravatar go to http://gravatar.com/ and upload your personalized gravatar that works on most WordPress blogs. If you don’t have one uploaded it’s based on your email address processed by a mathematical function.)

  • Wow! Classy place. ;c)

  • Hey, I just saw this:

    Does it mean the vegan menu is gonna be chucked as well?

  • Wait. How did you find out about this place? I’m so excited, my hands are shaking. I’ve always wanted to eat a vegan meal at a fine dinning restaurant. And when you make the reservations, do you ask for the vegan tasting menu. I think my head is going to explode from all this excitement. I think I will take my husband there for his birthday soon!!!

  • I emailed one of the chef’s to find out, will post when I find out. They “had” the vegan menu all the time you just had to request it. Most fine dining restaurants will make you an incredible vegan meal if you give them a few days notice. I have no doubt that XIV will still knock your vegan socks off despite the social dining change.

  • Yep they are still doing the vegan tasting menu and will always will always take care of their vegan friends.

  • I can’t believe you haven’t heard of Madeleine Bistro (in Tarzana, on Ventura Blvd.)!!!!! They are the best (100% vegan) high end dining experience in Los Angeles! You will be blown away by their food! They even offer cooking classes. Check out their website http://www.madeleinebistro.com.

    Also, I would not feel comfortable eating (and financially supporting) a restaurant, like XIV, who serves foie gras! As a vegan, I feel it’s our responsibility to ban places like that.

    Enjoy Madeleine Bistro!

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  • How can caramel sauce be vegan? It is made with sugar, butter and milk.

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