Whole Life Magazine

April / May 2015

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Page 19 of 43

taste of health I t might seem strange for a vegan restaurant to have an animal in its name, but consider the genesis of its namesake myth: A Gadarene swine is a "fallacy" based on the notion that be- cause a group is in formation, it is on the right course. The fallacy got its name from the ancient city of Gadara, where demons cast out of a madman found a new home in a local herd, which then plunged en masse down a steep cliff into the sea. Or so the story goes. Not about to risk the same fate, the Gadarene Swine restaurant has plotted an alternative course with broad appeal. Not only are there no ani- mal products on the menu, there are no soy, seitan or other meat simulators usually found in vegan restaurants. The inspiration came from a much meat- ier menu, at Chef Phillip Frankland Lee's other restaurant, Scratch Bar Beverly Hills. Lee noticed that Black- ened Caulifl ower was a favorite of diners and decided to create an extension of that in Studio City— thankfully including the multi-hued caulifl ower dish on the new menu. It was one of our favorites. The a la carte menu is limited, but that's because the pièce de résistance here is a 12-course tasting menu that is Lee's culinary playground. His working relation- ships with a wide range of farmers in the Southland enable him to pick and choose among each season's offerings to devel- op new combinations of vegetables prepared in a variety of ways. Overall there is plenty of fl avor but without the repetitive sameness that might otherwise pervade a single-food group menu. Everything is house- made and nearly always adorned with something pickled and tangy or dehydrated and crunchy. Among our other favorites, on menu and off: Crunchy, sweet and satisfying Honey Fried Olive Stuffed Olives (honey being the only animal product in house), kicky Roasted Mushrooms with Burnt Sweet Potato, and the delightful contrasts of Vegeta- bles in a Box (made of a potato skin put through a pasta maker and deep fried in the form of a box). If you're feeling ravenous, or- der the dense Crisp Yucca, their take on home fries. Balance it with a salad of tomato, parsley and crisp, wafer-thin white on- ion served in a shallow moat of corn pudding. An alcohol shooter topped with a sugar-roasted toma- to and ending in a puddle of mashed avocado at fi rst prom- ised to be a palate cleanser but was disappointingly sweet; however a thoughtful wine selection (mostly imported) and a dozen or so craft beers provide ample options for adult beverages. For dessert, Margarita Lee's playful selections included a de- constructed pear tart (alas, I am so over coconut) and a complex tres leche cake that tickled our fancy. Tableware is pri- marily rustic wood- en plank plates and bowls, and the occa- sional bird's nest, and a wood-ceilinged in- terior and warm, dim lighting lend an apropos ambience that ex- tends out to a green- ery-defi ned patio. Expect to be well cared for and leave well sated. 11226 Ventura Blvd., Studio City 91604 By Abigail Lewis Delicious, healthy, vegan THE GADARENE SWINE 20 wholelifetimesmagazine.com

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