On a gorgeous summery afternoon, I met up with one of my friends to dine at M.A.K.E. in Santa Monica, a completely raw Vegan restaurant. The calming breeze starkly contrasted with my excitement to finally dine at this establishment. Ever since I heard rave reviews from various friends, I imagined myself stuffing my face with their delicacies. My dream of dining there came true when I noticed that they were participating in Dine LA's Restaurant Week, offering a more "affordable" menu. For lunch, they had a two course menu for $25 with the optional addition of a juice for just $6 more. Considering that the entrees normally cost close to $20, this is a fantastic deal.
I scanned the menu closely, faced with the ever so difficult decision of what to order. Everything on the pre-fix menu made my mouth water and I wanted it all. Trying to stay on a budget, I opted to restrict myself to only ordering a salad and entree. I ultimately ended up ordering the kale salad and lasagna. My friend decided to stick with the regular menu and ordered the Baja + Ceviche King Trumpets.
The California Kale salad came out first and I dug in immediately.
The kale did not resemble kale in the slightest and had a softer texture. It seemed way closer to spinach and lacked the bitter taste that kale normally has. The salad was well dressed and had a lovely succulent tomato flavor. The pickled peppers added a nice crunchiness. The wasabi pine nuts took the dish over the top and added a lovely spice and a subtle smoky flavor.
Next, I had the main course: the Market Tomato Lasagna.
I loved the presentation of the lasagna just as much as I loved the dish. It looked so beautiful, I found it difficult to cut into (but of course that didn't stop me!). The dish had so much flavors going on and it was so hard to fathom that it was completely raw! M.A.K.E. did an exquisite job at getting the zucchini slices to perfectly mimic noodles and I never would have believed there was no gluten in this dish. The tomato sauce had a wonderful sweetness with just a slight tartness to balance it out. The cashew cheese truly made the dish and was so rich and creamy, with a fabulous nutty flavor. There was also a lovely pesto that added even more depth to the lasagna.
My wonderful friend let me try some of her dish, since I was curious what it tasted like.
The vegetables utilized in the lettuce tacos were very fresh and crisp. The homemade ceviche was a standout and seemed to resemble fish very well. It had a light flavor and a fantastic texture. I also loved the creaminess of the perfectly ripe avocado.
Lastly, we had a lovely tart for dessert. It was so rich and decadent and had a smooth, creamy texture. The taste of lemon was dominant, but the bitterness was balanced out with a slight sweetness.
Overall, the meal was fabulous and I enjoyed every bite. I didn't find the food to be very filling, however, and I wish I had ordered the optional juice. This restaurant is great for an occasional indulgence, but not very practical to eat at too often with the hefty prices. Still, I am hoping for an opportunity to dine there again soon, so I can try more of their mouthwatering dishes!