On an overcast Monday afternoon, I ventured to Ocean Park in Santa Monica, where Mandoline Grill typically stakes out a spot near the business park and art school. I was surprised to find the truck fairly crowded and as I stood in line, I scanned over the small menu. I was happy to see that for each menu item there was a vegan alternative, giving me plenty of options to choose from. I am a huge fan of their tacos, so I knew I had to order some of those, but I also wanted to try something new. Since I had a Groupon voucher for $5 for $10 worth of food, I decided to go crazy and order a ton of food.
I first had two Lemongrass Tofu Tacos ($5).
This was delicious. The tofu was deep fried and very juicy. It had a savory, charcoal taste. The cucumber was very crisp and refreshing. The mint leaves were a nice touch and added a subtle bitterness. The sriracha aioli was creamy and very spicy. It left my mouth filled with an intense heat.
Next, I had the vegan Bahn Mi ($6 + $1 to be made vegan + $1 to substitute sriracha aioli). Since I can't stand the taste of vegenaise, I opted to have the sriracha aioli sauce instead, since it's so scrumptious.
The Bahn Mi was humongous! It was 12 inches and very bulky. The bread was soft and slightly crunchy and filled with the same ingredients as were in the tacos. The bread absorbed the sauce very well and there were even more meaty tofu pieces. The Bahn Mi was even spicier than the tacos, since it was loaded with jalapenos.
My meal at Mandoline Grill was terrific. There was so much food and it was very filling, thus lasting me two meals. I was a little upset that the Bahn Mi ended up being so expensive with the extra charges for veganizing it and changing the sauce. It always annoys me when places do this, especially since it dissuades people from choosing the vegan option. Nevertheless, the food was very tasty and with my discount only cost me $8 total.