|Artichoke "oysters" are a fun take on oysters on the half shell, with fried oyster mushrooms sitting on artichoke leaves instead of shells, topped with kelp "caviar"|
What: A small plates Mediterranean restaurant that happens to be all vegan, Crossroads is much more upscale bistro than scruffy hippie hangout.
Where: 8284 Melrose, across from Duff's Cakemix , in the slightly cursed former Dolce/Philippe spot.
The goods: Chef Tal Ronnen worked at Lyfe Kitchen and created his own vegan cheese recipes; he's also cooked for Oprah and Ellen DeGeneres and pitched for Gardein faux-meats. He leans towards Italian and Middle Eastern flavors, which is probably the right idea for approachable and flavorful vegan dishes.
He's a big devotee of cashew-based cheeses and such, so if you're allergic to nuts, be sure to consult with the kitchen before ordering.
Crossroads is L.A.'s only vegan spot with a full bar, and the cocktails are one of the highlights. Wine and beer lists are also well thought-out.
Crossroads has a comfy feel with dark red banquettes and dark wood moldings, contemporary chandeliers, a long bar and a more secluded titled room that will eventually house a provisions boutique with Ronen's signature aged vegan cheeses. Hope no one confuses it with Crossroads Trading clothing just down the street.
Who You'll See: Owner Steve Bing; DreamWorks Animation topper Jeffrey Katzenberg; girls stopping by the bar after a Cakemix birthday party; a low-key yet very Hollywood crowd.
|Salads are always a strong suit of vegan restaurants, of course, and this Spring chopped salad with pea tendrils, English peas and watermelon radish is no exception.|
Recommended dishes: Kale spanokopita with harissa smoked tomato fondu, cauliflower bisque with fried capers, artichoke oysters, Sunset & Vine cocktail with tequila, St. Germain, blood orange, beet and ginger beer.
Skip it: Neither the carrot cake ice cream nor citrus panna cotta really worked with whatever secret ingredients were replacing cream and eggs. Chocolate bundt cake was quite bitter, yet more to my taste.
Possibility of a return visit: Prices are quite reasonable for the ambiance and location (no meat costs!), so if I wanted to impress a vegetarian friend and not have to order dishes called things like "I Am Transcendent," then sure.