The Scoop: It's an Atlanta institution, beloved by vegetarians, vegans, and even meat-eaters who ...The Scoop: It's an Atlanta institution, beloved by vegetarians, vegans, and even meat-eaters who just don't feel like gnawing on a rib bone. Soul Vegetarian, going strong on its twentieth year in Atlanta, has accomplished what seems like the impossible: serving up delicious, award-winning soul food... which also happens to be completely vegan. Show us another soul food restaurant that can survive without pork chops, heavy cream, cheese, or animal fat. Just try. You won't be able to, because Soul's the only vegan restaurant in town (and probably in the country) that does what it does. Which is only fair, because vegan food doesn't have to be flavorless to be healthy. And it sure doesn't need to miss out on havin' some soul.
"Your health is your wealth." That's the motto of Ahmeenohn, the general manager at Soul Veg who gave me the official lowdown on the restaurant. After realizing that, in those terms, all these late-night pizza runs are turning me into a pauper, I was certainly interested in hearing about what Soul Veg does to keep their food healthy and tasty--two qualities that are hard to find in the same dish at a restaurant. Soul Veg isn't just about soul food; it's about food that's truly good for your soul--your health and your well-being. In other words, while fried chitlins and fried okra might be considered "soul food," they aren't exactly easy on the innards.
Now, full disclosure: I am not a vegan, nor a vegetarian, nor any poor imitation of either. My diet is best described as "free-for-all" or "schmorgasbord," and as such, I rarely stop and smell the tofu. But when Ahmeenohn brought out Soul's fried tofu cutlets, served with collard greens and sweet potatoes, I was just as tempted as I would have been with a country-fried steak. They were perfectly golden and crisp, and when served right next to the salad sampler of beets, carrots, and eggless "egg salad," it was downright mouthwatering. Soul Veg has the fine art of vegan cooking down to a science, especially with their signature Kalebone mock meat. The exclusive recipe is made from wheat-gluten, is high in protein, and is apparently off the chain with some barbeque sauce. Soul also uses their Kalebone for their famous Garvey burger, which pairs the "meat" patty with Mierah mushroom and onion sauce. In terms of a crowd favorite, that one's right up their with their soy mac 'n cheese, which seems to have a following unto itself. Be sure to cleanse your palette with some of the "dream kream" soy ice cream, available by the scoop at the retro ice cream counter. Now, I know there's a lot of hard work that goes into maintaining a stringent diet. But the food at Soul is so tempting, it kinda makes me wonder: who needs all that meat and cheese anyway?
Garvey Burger, $5.60 - $7.95 (platter)
Barbeque Kalebone Twists, $13.95 (with salad and two sides)
Country Fried Steak, $13.95
Macaroni and Cheese, $3.40
Tuesday - Sunday, 11 a.m. - 10 p.m.