My diet choices rarely involves suffixes. Steering clear of labels like vegetarian, pescatarian, or fruitarian, the best way to describe my diet might be in dinosaur terms. Indeed, omnivore is probably be the best way to describe my eating habits. Despite this, I’d heard several positive mentions about Lakewood’s Cleveland Vegan, and after a recent lunch trip there, I can definitely understand why.
Upon entering, I went up to the counter to find out about seating amidst a pandemic. I’m not sure if it was due to the pandemic, or if it’s their standard procedure, but there were no paper or hand-held menus. Instead, guests use their smart phones to scan a laminated bar code located on every table, and voila…the menu pops up on their phones.
Since it was an unseasonably warm fall day, the front door was open and a fairly sizeable smattering of leaves made their way onto the restaurant floor adding a little autumnal flavor to complement the plant-based food offerings.
For starters, my cohort and I went with the Buffalo Cauliflower Dip and Pumpkin Roll Half Stack. The dip itself was only average with nothing overly distinct about its flavor or appearance. The Pumpkin Roll was a different story. Now I’m not much for sweets, at all, but holy hell it was a sensory delight. At this point, I usually can’t have more than one or two bites of something sweet but this was a masterpiece. It literally has me reconsidering my life choices regarding dessert food.
As something of a hash connoisseur, especially of the corned beef variety, I ordered the Irish Hash as my entree, figuring it would give me a chance to compare a vegan dish with a traditional breakfast staple. In short, I was blown away. Not only was it a great facsimile but it was every bit as good, if not better and more flavorful, than the hash you would get at nearly any diner in America. And it didn’t have that burnt taste standard hash sometimes possesses. Also, I can now speak with first-hand experience about seitan (a heart-healthy wheat product that’s high in protein). Something I never anticipated doing.
The Crispy Tofu Tacos my friend ordered were also delightful. And, as you can see in the picture below, as colorful as they were delicious.
The only downside was that if you’re seated at a table, the service can be a little disjointed because the servers also work the busy counter where to-go orders are placed and made. It’s also possible they usually have a dedicated counter staff, or that the pandemic has forced some alterations in how they normally operate, but if you’re looking to get in-and-out while seated at a table, that may be easier said than done. The to-go business also seems to be robust, especially for lunch, as by 11:45 AM the cooler of to-go items was packed solid. So, I strongly encourage those in the Lakewood area to make use of this.
Though I probably won’t be going vegan anytime soon, there is much to recommend the diet/philosophy after my trip here. I’ve already spoken glowingly about Cleveland Vegan with several friends and have no doubt whatsoever that I’ll return. Not just to expand my horizons, but because the food is downright tasty.
17112 Detroit Ave. Lakewood