Today’s post is the last in a rather long series of restaurant review posts. I swear, S and I aren’t restaurant-hopping spendthrifts, throwing fistfuls of money at every dining establishment with a vegan option! We happened to be traveling for work at the same time in February, and then it was our two-year anniversary and I had a Groupon for The Green Owl, so we just had to get dinner there! But I promise – I’ll get back to basics soon and cool it with the restaurant posts*.
I’ve mentioned The Green Owl more than a few times, but I think I’ve only blogged about it once. The Green Owl is Madison’s only vegetarian restaurant, and a high percentage of their menu items are either already vegan or can be made vegan with ease. I love supporting the place, but I do think that some of their dishes are overpriced considering the portion size and the quality. There are standouts, however, that are totally worth their cost: the Crabby Cake Po’Boy and BBQ Jackfruit sandwiches are top-notch in my book, while S prefers the Italian Beef sandwich. And you’d be a real idiot if you passed on their kale crisps, which are always crunchy, flavorful, and highly addictive. Where The Green Owl really stands out is its dessert menu… but I’ll get to that soon!
Our anniversary fell on a Tuesday, which is (apparently) taco night. I couldn’t resist ordering the tacos, which featured a soy-based chorizo, lettuce, and avocado in corn tortillas. They came with a side of beans and rice and small bowls of vegan sour cream and their house pineapple pico de gallo.
To be honest, the pineapple pico was probably the best part of this dish. The tacos weren’t anything too special; I could easily make them at home with little fuss. And the “beans and rice” was disappointing – it was literally a pile of barely seasoned black beans alongside a scoop of brown rice. Again, totally fine for something I’d make at home when I wanted a simple dinner, but not what I particularly want to receive as a paying customer at a restaurant! At least I had a pomegranate cocktail to keep me in good spirits.
S ordered the TLT with avocado, served on locally made bread.
I’ve had this before, and it’s perfectly serviceable but nothing mind-blowing. S chose roasted red potatoes as a side – a wise choice, second in quality only to the kale chips! S also ordered a Manhattan. You can see it in the corner, inexplicably served in a small tumbler. When he ordered the drink, our waitress said, “Hmm, I think she knows how to make that!” Not exactly confidence-inspiring, and a Manhattan is not exactly an exotic drink!
Although our meals didn’t boast the most inspiring flavors or quality, our desserts made the entire dinner worthwhile. I ordered a margarita cheesecake that was truly phenomenal.
Bursting with fresh lime flavor, this luscious, creamy cheesecake hit all the right notes. I absolutely loved that it wasn’t overwhelmingly sweet. The head pastry chef at The Green Owl constantly produces some of the most creative and consistently drool-worthy vegan cheesecake creations I’ve ever created, and this one was one of my all-time favorites. She doesn’t just do cheesecakes, though – all her desserts are equally delicious. S took the cake route and ordered some sort of mocha cake.
Although I preferred my cheesecake, this was definitely a standout dessert too. Cakes at The Green Owl are always perfectly moist, with just the right frosting-to-cake ratio.
While not every dish at The Green Owl is a winner, those that are winners win big. No omnivore could try a dessert at The Green Owl and think that vegan baked goods are inferior to their traditional counterparts, and the favorites I listed earlier are consistently high-quality dishes. Even though I have some qualms with The Green Owl’s prices, I’ll still be back for more! Here’s hoping the margarita cheesecake is on the menu next time…!
Do you have easy access to any delicious vegan desserts?
*Sorta. I’ll be in Rhode Island next weekend, and on Sunday my friend is holding a birthday brunch at a restaurant with multiple vegan breakfast options, soooo………