• the best vegan tasting menu: bottlerock in downtown LA

    October 21st, 2009quarrygirlbottlerock, LA restaurants

    last week, i had the pleasure of enjoying what was quite honestly one of the best meals of my life. our friends—who are also beer lovers and the wonderful people behind the quarrygirl iPhone app—invited us to have dinner with them at bottlerock downtown, a combination wine & beer retailer, tasting room and cafe. although there are only a few vegan dishes on the normal menu, our friends know someone who works at bottlerock and said they’d have no problem preparing us a special vegan meal.

    when we arrived at bottlerock, they were ready for us. they had scrubbed down a section of the kitchen where our food was to be prepared, and had beer pairings on hand for each of our courses. i went in expecting some great beer and decent vegan fare, but i left completely elated and high on delicious flavors. i’m writing this post because i think it’s something everyone should try. let’s just jump right in and i’ll tell you all about what they served us:

    house root vegetables with fried capers and carrot miso

    house root vegetables with fried capers and carrot miso

    the first course was a bowl of house root vegetables with fried capers and carrot miso. perfectly sweet with hints of vinegar, this is one of the best beet dishes i’ve ever tried.

    fava bean and pistachio falafel with greens and hummus

    fava bean and pistachio falafel with greens and hummus

    the second course was fresh fava and pistachio falafel, served with cherry tomatoes, hummus, watercress and black olive oil. to say this falafel was amazing would be a gross understatement. it was extra thick and dense, not spongy like a regular chickpea falafel. the leaves were delicate and fresh, the tomatoes were juicy, and the hummus was extra creamy. everybody at the table was thoroughly impressed with this dish.

    king trumpet mushroom with potato, almonds, and artichoke puree

    king trumpet mushroom with potato, almonds, and artichoke puree

    our third course was a small bowl of king trumpet mushrooms covered in greens, with crunchy almonds in an artichoke puree. the rich and smooth artichoke puree was so delicious, i could drink it straight. it was super thick and coated the leaves and mushrooms perfectly, giving everything a quite decadent taste.

    fried sushi rice with vegetables

    fried sushi rice with vegetables

    course four was a dish of fried sushi rice and vegetables. it came sprinkled with some black flecks that i think were called ukari. i don’t know exactly what was in this rice, but whatever it was, i loved it. each grain was slightly fried and packed just the right amount of flavor and crunch.

    fingerling potato with beluga lentils, shaved celery and carrot curry sauce.

    fingerling potato with beluga lentils, shaved celery and carrot curry sauce.

    the fifth course was gorgeously presented—a fingerling potato with beluga lentils, shaved celery and carrot curry sauce. this dish was definitely a standout, and everyone at the table was basically licking their plate to get every last drop of the sauce.

    seared tofu, smoked parsnip sauce, maitake mushroom, cipollini onion, cumin spaghetti squash

    seared tofu, smoked parsnip sauce, maitake mushroom, cipollini onion, cumin spaghetti squash

    course number six brought together some of the best tastes i’ve ever had in my life. the dish consisted of a seared tofu patty with smoked parsnip sauce, a maitake mushroom atop a cipollini onion, and a mound of cumin spaghetti squash. OMG. if i could prepare tofu this way, i would never leave the house. the parsnip sauce, the succulent mushroom and the barely sweet onion were all perfect as well. to me, this course was pure bliss.

    so by this point, we were all getting a bit full and tipsy. we’d had 6 dishes and a beer pairing to go with each one, so when they asked us how many more courses we had left in us we told them we could probably only make it through just one more. (i’m so curious as to what they would have brought had we requested several more.)

    melon sorbet, reduced apple cider, plum, sweet potato and shiso with grated cashew

    melon sorbet, reduced apple cider, plum, sweet potato and shiso with grated cashew

    so with that they brought out course seven, our final and dessert course, a scoop of melon sorbet with reduced apple cider, plum, sweet potato and grated cashew. there were so many flavors going on in this thing, it was unreal. sweet, fruity, salty, and nutty all at once. a total party in my mouth.

    beer pairing...and this was just for dessert!

    beer pairing...and this was just for dessert!

    after seven courses of this amazing food, the four of us could barely move. and i didn’t even get into the excellent beer pairings that bottlerock brought with each one. we tried so much stuff from from a fresh hopped IPA, to hefferveisen, to thick rich dessert beers. the staff was also super friendly and excited about the food, willing to explain all the flavors to us in detail. the chef even came out to meet us and told us that he whipped up everything with ingredients he had on hand, no special planning or preparation. wow, now that’s what i call talent!

    so i bet you are wondering how you can experience this delicious food, because after all, none of it is on the menu. well, the chef told us that bottlerock could accommodate all vegans…it’s just a matter of getting creative and clearing off a preparation space in the kitchen. my advice would be to call ahead, make reservations for a tasting menu, and alert them to your veganocity. you may not end up with the exact courses we had, but you will end up with something amazing nonetheless.

    so seriously, call bottlerock and get some of the amazing vegan food, wine and beer they have to offer. maybe if enough of us go there, they will add a vegan tasting meal to the normal menu. wouldn’t that be awesome? yeah, it would…because this is the best vegan tasting meal i’ve had in los angeles by far. who’s in? i am going back as soon as i possibly can.


    1050 Flower Street # 167
    Los Angeles, CA 90015
    Phone: 213.747.1100

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20 responses to “the best vegan tasting menu: bottlerock in downtown LA” RSS icon

  • these things need to be on the normal menu so i can go eat them!! i almost went to this place for lunch one time but passed because the menu didn’t look vegan-friendly. now i want to kick myself in the face for not going.

  • With such talented chefs on hand they DEFINITELY should have this on the “regular” menu. I am quite disappointed in you, though. When you’re being served such an exquisite feast you should NEVER admit defeat (fullness).

  • Wow, this looks much better than XIV…and with beer! I am sold. I want to go.

  • Wow this is really surprising–my coworkers and I go to the Bottlerock in Culver City often and usually the only thing I can order is a plate of gourmet olives. And I don’t even like olives but I will eat them there out of necessity. How much did all of those amazing courses cost?

  • Seared tofu…parsnip puree…artichoke puree…king trumpet mushrooms…melon sorbet…everything sounds spectacular! If you, after all the amazing vegan food including fine dining vegan tasting menus, say that this is the best meal of your life so far, that is immensely high praise. I’m constantly surprised and grateful at some of the incredible omni restaurants that are so willing to bend over backwards to prepare amazing vegan meals for us. Thank you for sharing your experience!

  • Thank you so much for posting this! I love Bottlerock and didn’t know I could eat there. I am gonna have them make me a vegan falafel next time I go.


  • that food looks amazing… hang on while I spend a couple of years building LA’s best vegan blog so I can get hook-ups like this ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Wow, that all looks amazing!

    I think the black seaweed on the rice looks like regular sushi nori but I can’t tell for sure. The purple sprinkles look like Yukari ๏ผˆใ‚†ใ‹ใ‚Š๏ผ‰ a trademarked brand of dried purple shiso with salt, sugar, and msg. It’s sour and salty with a very distinctive taste and probably my favorite rice topping. You can get it at all Japanese grocery stores I think. Here’s the web site:

  • i love tasting menus! i am gonna see if they can hook this up for me! you are a very lucky person. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • This makes me want to cry. ’cause I’m not eating it and drinking the beer. right now. :[

  • and you forgot to mention we were there for THREE (seeming very short) hours. a threeee hour tour, a threeee hour tour…. of heaven!

  • I wonder if they would do that at the one in Culver?

  • Sob!! I am hideously jealous!
    That looks incredible!
    What a talented and accommodating chef ๐Ÿ™‚

  • While this is awesome, and I admire your call-ahead-aness, I will never do this.

    If you want my business, put it on your menu. I have enough annoyance quibbling over “special meals” while traveling.

  • I would like to try this!

    But I sympathize with you, Marcus. I don’t enjoy asking for special treatment at restaurants either, and I tend to avoid those situations for the most part.

    But, I might make an exception in this case, especially if Quarrygirl thinks doing that might prod them into permanently adding the vegan tasting menu.

  • wow it all looks great! How much was the tasting?

  • yosoyliz and nrgy: we got a discount, but i think tastings there are $50 per person! ๐Ÿ™‚ that is a good deal, considering XIV is $64 p/p!

  • Looks delicious! Looking at it makes me feel hungry. Chef is very talented. I like the style of the food presentation, I wonder what’s the taste of this foods?

  • seared tofu,YUMMMMMY!

  • Great post. I was checking continuously this blog and I’m impressed! Extremely useful information specifically the last part ๐Ÿ™‚ I care for such info much. I was seeking this certain information for a very long time. Thank you and best of luck.

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