From a dish prominently featuring mock meat at a high-brow Galleria restaurant to a creative sandwich that combines avocado toast, burrata and a croissant, here is your irregularly scheduled reminder that vegetarian food is delicious too.
Vegetarian chicken from Yauatcha: More than one eyebrow at the table was raised when we spotted a "vegetarian chicken" offering at the upscale dim sum locale. Although I've typically only encountered mock meat (often comprised from textured soy protein) at dedicated vegan restaurants or occasionally at casual Asian haunts, if you're a fan of faux meat, you'll love this dish. Thin cutlets of lightly breaded and seasoned "chicken" are tossed with stir-fried green peppers for a tasty combination. The texture is a little softer than actual meat, but it retains a subtle, sinewy bite that will remind you of the real thing.
Golden eggplant from Cooking Girl: If you're a typical visitor of the Fairview or West Gray locations of Cooking Girl, you'll have to branch a little out of your comfort zone for this one—the golden eggplant is a specialty served only at the Kirby location of Cooking Girl, but it's worth your while. Lacto ovo vegetarians (and others) will enjoy cubes of eggplant dusted in golden duck egg yolk and fried until hot, crispy and savory.
Vegan gyoza from Kata Robata: Even though Asian food typically has minimal dairy, navigating thoroughly vegan options can still be a tricky task. Kata Robata simplifies this navigation by clearly labeling the vegan dishes on the menu—in the midst of phenomenal sushi options, there are actually two vegan offerings. The gyoza, made with cabbage, mushroom, pine nuts, edamame and more, arrive five to an order sizzling in a small cast iron pan. Even for fish and meat eaters, they are a delightful starter to the rest of a meal.
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Avocado toast sandwich from La Sicilia: First of all, the croissants at the La Sicilia, the newish Italian bakery in Montrose, are enormous, so it's worth visiting just for those. Second, avocado toast made into a sandwich on a croissant is just about the best thing to happen to bread since avocado toast. Add to that burrata, homemade tomato jam and a vaguely pesto-like basil sauce, and this sandwich is the thing of millennial dreams.
Mac 'n cheese kolache from Koala Kolaches: Whether you're feeling savory or sweet, the typical meat-free option at a kolache shop is a sweet fruit kolache. If you're lucky, they might have a stuffed egg and cheese or egg and potato kolache. At Koala Kolaches, located in Cypress, there's a whole host of wacky, creative kolache combinations including this rich and creamy pasta-stuffed pastry. For an off-the-beaten path egg option, there's a leek and egg white kolache—and of course, a wide variety of sweet kolaches if you are so inclined.