With some prime real estate in historic downtown Phoenixville, right across the street from the Colonial Theatre, Taste is sneaking savory vegan fare into the suburbs. And if patrons haven’t found out they are eating vegan fare, mission accomplished.
The snack menu at Taste is almost too simple, offering appetizers like crispy chickpeas ($7), seasonal olives ($6), lavender popcorn ($6) and pickled veggies ($6).
Yeah, we were thinking the same thing: They aren’t coming out with their culinary guns a-blazing to start things off. But it’s all made in house, lest you think they just opened up a couple of jars and … voila! Never mind the fact that our inner wolf pack, razor-toothed carnivore is somewhere in the back of our collective psyche fuming.
“You dragged my hungry ass out to Phoenixville for carrot sticks and popcorn?!?”
“No, carnie. Vegans are our friends. They love us. They have our backs. Just calm down and wait.”
The main menu at Taste is a well-rounded selection of bar entrées made to look like meaty favorites but with no meat in them. Seitan, more times than not, steps up to the plate to take the place of the usual proteins. Having tasted and enjoyed seitan on a number of occasions, we have come to discover that it is an excellent meat substitute, especially when shredded and given an opportunity to soak up flavors from being cooked in a sauce or with other ingredients.
This is why the Laos street tacos ($18) were superb. Packed with excellent slices of seitan sausage and colorful peppers, sriracha and avocado, the dish pulled no punches in the spice department and delivered bold and bright flavors.
At this point, the inner carnivore was more than pleased.
The Chick’N BBW ($18) made a valiant attempt at chicken and waffles. The waffle itself was great. with a citrus-tinged syrup that you could drizzle over the dish. The roasted asparagus and finely chopped seitan bacon added nice flavors to the dish as well. The “chick’n” itself did a good-enough job on the skin level but struggled to keep the charade up where the juiciness of the meat would kick in. But like we said earlier, size matters with seitan. Cutting the fried seitan into smaller pieces, instead of trying to pass it off as a breast filet, would be a touch more convincing. But the dish was solid overall.
Dessert was another valiant effort. The alpine spice ice cream sundae ($8) visually looked the part: vanilla ice cream topped with cinnamon dust and mint and a poplet of alpine-spice wine that you can drizzle all over to give it that apple-pie taste. And when it first hits your tongue, yes, it does a good job of tasting like ice cream and apple pie. Now, if you are an ice-cream enthusiast, your inner child who used to chase the ice-cream truck down the street might pout just a little when your taste buds come to the realization that this in a non-dairy vanilla ice cream and the sorbet-like texture doesn’t coat the palate in the luxurious way that its full-on dairy cousin does. But for something without dairy, it scratches the itch.
Taste has more than enough personality, creativity and charm to win over vegan tastes and carnivore tendencies. If you find yourself out in the rolling hills northwest of the city, swing through Phoenixville and have yourself a taste of Taste.
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