Portobello: Reinventing Vegan Cuisine

Portobello Vegan Trattoria is changing preconceived notions about animal-free cuisine

When we think about vegan cuisine, what comes to mind? Kale, trail mix, raw vegetables, and other food items that most of us would consider to be boring. But at Portobello Vegan Trattoria, chef Aaron Adams to turning that idea completely around, making repeat customers out of even hardcore carnivores.

The restaurant, which is ostensibly a rustic Italian trattoria, was founded in 2008, and uses local, organic, ethically sourced ingredients whenever possible, and they work with farmers in planning menus.

A look at the menu might reveal that there’s something interesting going on here, but overall it just looks delicious. Potato gnocchi with sautéed kale and apples, butternut veloute sauce, and fried sage; pan-crisped polenta and hedgehog mushrooms with cashew cream, baked manicotti with cashew ricotta, kale, mushrooms, and sundried tomato. There’s even a vegan cheese plate, highlighting cheeses like hazelnut black salt cashew chevre, herb-crusted tofu-based cheese, and smoked cashew cheese. There are even pizzas and burgers, and a beet tartare, pictured, that can hold its own against the real thing.

But at Portobello, there’s no fake meat, there’s no seitan. It’s not trying to be something it’s not. It’s just high-quality, delicious food that happens to have no animal products involved.

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