photo: the suite life

crossroads: vegan fare on melrose

photo courtesy of crossroads

photo courtesy of crossroads

As the Crossroads sign went up, I was busy wondering why they would put another recycled clothing store so close to the other location on Sweetzer and Santa Monica.  Then I read on Twitter that it was actually a new restaurant.

From 2003 to 2009, it was Italian hotspot Dolce co-owned by Ashton Kutcher (which we loved).  Then it was reincarnated into Mr. Chow’s Asian eatery Philippe (which we didn’t love).  Now in 2013, it’s upscale vegan restaurant Crossroads (which we actually liked).

Naturally, we had to see if the third time was the charm for this revolving door of restaurant renovation on the corner of Sweetzer and Melrose.  After looking over the all vegan menu online, we were intrigued enough to make a reservation and adventure into the plant-based arena of what seemed to be gimmicky and cliché LA stereotype dining.

One of the things we love best about living in West Hollywood is being able to walk to so many great places for dinner, so we took the short one-block stroll from the building over to Crossroads.  As we walked into the newly renovated restaurant, while the layout of the previous two restaurants remained intact, we were glad to see that the small mail slot-like windows had been replaced with huge, clear windows that faced West and allowed a ton of natural light to stream into the dining and bar areas.  The décor was rustic and felt warm and homey and we loved the lighting fixtures up above.

Everything on the menu looked delicious to this veggie loving gal and surprisingly, even to her carnivore obsessed boyfriend.  Our server explained that they offered small tapas-style plates designed to be shared and he recommended 3-5 plates per person.  He also suggested that we try the artichoke oysters and lentil flatbread plate and since these had already caught our eye after being left to peruse the menu for 20 minutes, we took his suggestions on the spot.

the spread

  • Lentil flatbread with leek pate, smoked white bean hummus, tomato braised banana peppers – $5
  • Kite Hill cheese plate with assorted cheeses, housemade jams, other goodies – $14
  • “Artichoke oysters” with artichoke purée, crispy oyster mushroom, yellow tomato béarnaise, kelp caviar – $8
  • “Crab cakes” hearts of palm, apples, beets, horseradish cream – $10
  • Kale spanakopita with harissa spiced smoked tomato fondu, mint oil – $8
  • Flat bread with pistachio kalamata tapenade, spicy roasted cauliflolwer, frisee – $10
  • Tortelloni with almond cheese, oven-dried tomatoes, parsley frisée salad, spinach cream – $12
  • Risotto stuffed banana pepper with basil lime beurre blanc – $12

top nosh

We were both pleasantly surprised that the vegan fare was both deliriously delicious and filling.  The almond cheese tasted like cow’s milk and the “crab cakes” had that familiar salty sting of the sea.  If no one told us, we would swear they were packed with subtly sweet briny crab meat by the taste and the texture.

Although the artichoke oysters were a close second, the top nosh honors are awarded to the savory and simple kale spanakopita.  They arrived piping hot and were delicious alone or when taken for a swim in the spicy and smoky tomato fondue.  If we could order the fondue with a side of melted almond cheese sandwiched between two pieces of that lentil flatbread, we’d be in LA hipster heaven.

may we suggest

  • Keep your mind open to trying (and enjoying) vegan food.  My carnivore boyfriend eats steak three times a week and often wants to go through the In-N-Out drive thru after a $200 sushi dinner, but here he was full and actually liked the healthy fare his gf made him eat.  So there.
  • Keep your eyes open for celebrities dining at the table behind you.  I couldn’t help but sing the theme song for Sister Sister in my head when Tia Mowry and her hubby walked in for a veggie date night.
  • Keep your adult beverages in check.  At $15 a pop, I was happier with just water.
  • Keep your water glass full.  Or in between bites or you will be bombarded with attentive busboys filling up your almost-could-pass-as-a-shotglass tumbler.  Now we’re all for great service, but filling our glasses after every sip of an already too small vessel was unnecessary and annoying.  So much so that we told the busboys, “Dude, we got this”.
  • Keep your schedule open after dinner.  It had been an hour since we sat down and we had still only been served two dishes.  The lag time between courses was way too long, but on the bright side, you’ve got time to mentally filter through your closet and pick out outfits you can sell to the other Crossroads.

the specifics

8284 Melrose Avenue at Sweetzer, West Hollywood 90046

Monday-Friday 11:30am – 2:30pm

Monday-Wednesday 5:00pm – 12:00am
Thursday-Saturday 5:00pm – 1:00am
Sunday 5:00pm – 10:00pm

One thought on “crossroads: vegan fare on melrose

  1. Pingback: norah: brunch at this approachable weho hot spot | the suite life

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