Saturday, March 12, 2011

Jamaican Me Crazy For Vegan Food

I love trying new food, especially new types of cuisine, so imagine my surprise a few months ago when I discovered that Jamaican food is so vegan friendly. They don't really use much dairy in their dishes, if at all, and many of their dishes are already naturally planted based. Today, I dined at Sattdown Jamaican Grill in Studio City, CA. This very vegan friendly and delicious restaurant is a participant on I purchased a $25 dollar gift certificate for $2 to use with my friend. We mostly had a really good experience, except for some bad service and tough "chicken". Here's what we ordered:

We were both starving and thirsty, so we first ordered drinks and appetizers. My friend ordered a juice and I ordered a lemonade, each costing $3. We both commented on how fresh tasting our drinks were and also lightly sweetened. It tasted natural, not artificial like so many drinks I've had at other restaurants.

First, we ordered 2 veggie patties, each costing $3. They are soft, flaky pastries with a savory filling consisting of spinach and corn. As a vegetarian, I loved spinach pies and ate them all the time. The taste of this is very similar to the Mediterranean/Greek counterpart and is definitely a suitable replacement. The well seasoned spinach and corn complement one another and the outside phyllo dough made me feel like I was eating dessert for dinner. I would definitely recommend these scrumptious appetizers. Next time I'll definitely be getting more than one!

Next, we ordered a veggie curry roti for $9. This is basically a burrito filled with vegetables in a yellow curry sauce. I love this dish. I really like burritos but find the tortillas to be really heavy and dense and difficult for my body to digest. This is not the case for the roti. The outside skin is soft and crepe-like, making easy to bite into.  The vegetables inside were well cooked and flavored well with the yellow curry. It had a nice spice to it but did not have the strong kick that Asian curries do (particularly Indian food).  While I like my food spicy, I still think it had a great flavor and would order the dish again.

Note: The picture only shows half the roti as we shared everything equally.

Next up was the veggie chicken curry for $10. The sauce and vegetables in the dish were basically the same as the roti filling. When ordering the dish, we made a huge mistake in not clearly specifying we wanted all the dishes made vegan. We assumed the waitress knew since we had said we were vegans, but she brought out a real chicken dish instead of vegan! When asking her if it was vegan, she shook her head no and told us we would have to wait while they made a new one. About 20 minutes later, she brought out a new dish which did not resemble chicken at all. The faux meat was very tough and difficult to eat. This place needs a lesson on how to make vegan meats! I would definitely not order this again. Here is the remains of the dish:

Both dishes came with fried plantains which were delicious! They were very sweet and soft and not too mushy. They also had a light caramel glaze, which I love. 

Finally, we ordered the cheesecake for dessert for $6. This comes in various fruity flavors and we chose strawberry. Oh my god, this was so delicious! I would go back to this restaurant just for the cheesecake! It was so soft and creamy and not overly sweet. The pecans on top took it to a whole other level, adding a subtle crunchiness. I usually don't like nuts in desserts, but the pecans worked so well as a topping, perhaps because they were so finely chopped and grounded up. Definitely get the cheesecake or even better get two!

Overall, I really like the food there. Yes, the waitress there does not have the best customer service skills but the chef does an excellent job at making vegan food at a non vegan restaurant.  In the future, I would steer clear of their faux meats, while sticking to the veggie patties, roti and dessert. I would also love to try their vegan soups which sound amazing. With the gift certificate, our bill came out to a total of $23 (with tax and tip included). A pretty good deal for yummy Jamaican vegan food!

Sattdown Jamaican Grill
11320 Ventura Blvd
Studio CityCA 91604

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