by Steven Doyle
Troy Gardner is a clever man. You may remember chef Troy from his hotdoggin’ days when he owned Samson’s Gourmet Hot Dogs on Oak Lawn. Then he was putting out a terrific product, both for the omnivores as well as the vegans alike. Today he is running the helm at V-Eats Modern Vegan in Trinity Groves, a cozy little hot spot that is thriving selling only vegan dishes to pretty much anyone who loves food.
The stampede into his restaurant starts early, as soon as the doors open at dusk. Many of his clientele drive across the Hunt-Hill Bridge from their downtown jobs, and order a variety of meat-looking dishes including a curious brisket that looks and tastes like its cow-derived counterpart and comes made in sandwich, slider and taco form, to a Salisbury Steak replete with a dark, rich brown gravy, and even our favored chicken fried steak.
These are comfort dishes that are even more comfort for those who are on a plant-based diet but grew up dining on these hearty dishes. My vegan buddies do miss these meaty plates sopped with gravy, and now they can experience that home-spun love all over again without the guilt or dietary restriction.
The crazy part about all these look-alike dishes? They taste exactly, if not better than their animal cousins. Take this from a gentleman that celebrates Texas Chicken Fried Steak Day with extreme verve, more so than Christmas or St. Swithen’s Day.
The menu crazes on with a fried chicken plate that is encrusted in tortilla and one superb macaroni and “cheese”. Particularly good is the pronounced vegan dish wrapped in a Beggar’s Purse, a phyllo-wrapped bit of loveliness with potato and mushrooms laced with grilled peppers, vegetables and a scent of truffle oil.
Chicken Fried Steak
The plates are so bountiful that is near impossible to finish, and often the eats become a second helping late night while you are still trying to figure out how Gardner pulled off this magical feat called a vegan chicken fried steak.
This is an opportunity for you and those pesky vegan friends of yours to once again dine with pleasure and communion. You may even want to sneak out with your favorite date one night and enjoy these vegan bites clandestinely. We won’t tell your meat-loving friends. In fact, buy them a dessert, they are all delicious.
There is a full bar, great wine selections at decent prices, and beer. Good beer to go with that great chicken fried steak I just told you about.