To me, the most exciting plant-based restaurants are those that go beyond the kale and black bean burgers and let the creative juices flow. Big names like Tal Ronnen know how to create indulgent and delicious meat-free eats that often mimic some of our favorite carnivorous creations.
Such is the case at Jewel, a Los Angeles restaurant that offers up a fresh take on the plant-based food scene. Foodbeast's own Marc Kharrat and Elie Ayrouth went with YouTube star and actress Anna Akana to Jewel to check out their entire menu, and were impressed at the restaurant's signature dishes.
One of Jewel's most famous items is their Carrot Lox Toast, where the "rabbit food" is transformed into luxurious, smoky slivers that could fool anyone into thinking it was actual salmon. Kharrat, a first-time vegan eater, was impressed by the orchestra of flavor in this toast.
There was also the Cococalamari Tacos, which utilize young coconut as a substitute for squid. To Ayrouth, the texture of them compared to calamari was similar, but "less stringy," as he put it. They went well with the fresh flavors the accoutrements to the taco provided.
The most eye-opening of Jewel's dishes had to be the Sol Box, their take on ribs that featured barbecued yuba. "Yuba is a byproduct of making tofu," chef Jasmine Shimoda explained, adding on that the yuba is dehydrated to get a "crepe-like texture" similar to pulled rib meat. Akana, an experienced vegan, could not believe how close to the real deal it got, saying that "my mouth likes it but my brain is like 'NO!'"
Jewel's ability to transform vegetables into meat-like foods is incredible, and merits a journey to see just how close to the dishes mirror their carnivorous counterparts.
You can see the full menu and all of the enticing creations Jewel has to offer in Foodbeast's new episode of Going In, featured in the above video.