Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Veg Out: Interstate Draft House
Quick cell photos in a dark bar don't do the eats at Fishtown's newest pub any favors. You'll just have to trust that Interstate Draft House's vegan selections are plentiful, thoughtful, and extremely beer-friendly.
Let's get right to the Grilled Seitan Tips with Soy Aioli. Most of you will remember this legendary plate from the owners' previous restaurant, Azure, which is now Cantina Dos Segundos. After Azure closed, we all wept. It was some of the best seitan to be had, and my first experience with the sacred protein.
First, the portion is on the smaller side and is served with 3 tortillas and the soy aioli as I remember it. However, it seemed like something was missing. We dug in, and it was buttery and delicious, but at $11, there needs to be another component for such a tapas-sized plate. Especially now that seitan is everywhere.
The Seitan Chili gets a topper of vegan cheese (ask for it sans sour cream, though) and has precious hunks of seitan to bulk it up. Get past the cheese and chips and you have something quite wonderful. I'm not the biggest fan of vegan cheese but this was a bowl full of comfort. I think I'll order this on every cold night that I go...
I tried the Vegan Cheeseburger after confirming that it was in fact covered with gooey faux cheddar and that the veggie patty was housemade with vegetables and grains. Again, if you love vegan cheese, then this will hit the spot. I found myself wishing there was less of the cheese (I'm pretty sure it was Daiya). It reminded me of the veggie burger at Blossom in NYC, which I used to be obsessed with. I found myself wishing that the burger had come with some of the yuca fries (we ordered a side of mushrooms with yuca fries) and would order this again with fries. Sometimes you're just in a veggie burger mood and this is a swell solution to that.
Back to those fries. I could easily skip fries most of the time, unless they're sweet potato or...the rare opportunity of yuca. Interstate offers regular, sweet potato, a fry sampler, and also does plantain fries. Then there's the side of yuca. The yuca is served in a small dish with grilled mushrooms, and this was the highlight of the table for me. It is served at room temp, which was quite pleasant. I dipped the yuca in the soy aioli, and could not stop. New favorite bar snack?
As far as beer, the selection is approachable enough to please everyone. The bar and dining room both feel relaxed and the place had a nice crowd for a Friday night in the opening week. Our bartender was an Azure veteran and was enthusiastic, funny, and made us instantly feel like regulars.
Another positive change for the neighborhood that I grew up in AND an exciting new venture from the people who first fed me seitan...I cannot wait to be a regular.