Ridgefield, Connecticut's Food Evolution Will Change Your Opinion Of Vegan Dining
If you think a vegan meal means meager salads and nasty health smoothies, you haven't eaten at Food Evolution.
Fiesta nachos with guacamole, hummus, and sun-dried tomato Kalamata olive tapenade.
Finally, vegans: the upscale, gourmet restaurant you've been waiting for (though you'll have to step a bit beyond Westchester, to Ridgefield, CT). The short-lived So Good Vegan Cafe has evolved into Food Evolution, whose young chef, Rachel Lattarulo, is doing wondrous things that defy the clichés of vegan food. Forget any notions of austerity—it has a luxurious vibe (dark wood, soft lighting, fireplace, banquettes), a full bar with seasonal cocktails, and decadent desserts. It’s in a shopping center, but you wouldn’t know it once you step in (although you might choose to dine on their charming patio).
Food Evolution's bar area.
When I was introduced to the chef, a graduate of the Natural Gourmet Institute, I made a point of asking her not to take the fiesta nachos appetizer off the soon-to-be-updated menu. Because “vegan” and “nachos” seem not such an oxymoron when you have a large platter of fresh house-made tortilla chips piled with corn and black bean salad, jicama, fried plantain, guacamole, tomato pico de gallo, and olives, with house-made cheesy sauce and slice of lime. The international selection of appetizers also includes crystal rice and nori rolls filled with vegetables, mango, toasted cashews, fresh herbs, and kale, served with mango Siracha and peanut dipping sauces.
Vegan desserts you actually want to eat.
Vegan paella, the only dish we ordered that had any fake meat, featured smoked apple and sage “sausage” on artichoke and sweet pepper wild rice, next to crispy chickpeas in a creamy saffron sauce—satisfying and tasty enough to order again. Also on the order-again list, spanakopita, made with spinach, kale, chard, tofu, and raisins, served on salad with red pepper puree and refreshingly topped with julienned jicama and apple walnut slaw. White bean chili with roasted sweet potato, avocado, and sprouted corn chips is hearty and not too heavy on the chili powder. Other entrées include a raw-food walnut meat-taco and tapas plate, curry cauliflower steak, burgers, a BBQ bowl served with jalapeno skillet cornbread, and vegan Parmesan with string beans almondine, and there’s also a children's menu.
Our favorite dessert—if they have it, don’t miss out!—was the chef’s peanut butter chocolate pie. Others, such as the gooey salted chocolate truffle cake, come from Swoon Gluten-Free Bakery next door, and a yummy vanilla raspberry swirl cheesecake is made by nearby Ross’ Bread bakery.
109 Danbury Rd, Ridgefield, CT 06877