|Portobello & Sausage Burger|
|Oklahoma Bacon Cheeseburger|
|Chicken Run Ranch Burger|
For dessert, we all shared a cardamon rose cupcake. It was really perfume-y from the rose (rose water, I assume). But the cardamon and rose together was a pleasant taste and the frosting was really divine. Major props to their baking team on this. I was really impressed with how great of a vegan cupcake this was.
Two weeks later, I returned back to this Wicker Park Native Foods location to have another go with the friend who has been to the California locations. She was also surprised by the cafeteria-style setup. We shared the Native nachos to begin with in order to have a better taste test of this homemade cheese. It had a really sweet aftertaste which I'm not sure if that is because of the cheese or Native crema. I'm going to assume it was the crema. If you like a bit of sweetness, go for it, but if not, I would suggest asking for the crema on the side. The nachos could have been a meal in and of itself, so kudos to Native Foods for ample portions.
For entree's, I had the Chicago dip au jus and my friend had the super Italian meatball sub. The Italian beef sandwich (I'm assuming this is what the Chicago dip au jus was trying to be) was really excellent. I would definitely get this again. Much better than the Oklahoma bacon cheeseburger I had previously by comparison. The dip was tasty and the giardinera had a great kick to it. I'm always a fan of places with homemade giardiniera (like Revolution Brewing). The seitan was sliced seitan which is what it should have been for this sandwich (unlike the cheeseburger). My friend enjoyed her Italian meatball sub, but she was lacking enough marinara sauce for all the meatballs. She really enjoyed the pumpkin seed pesto that was on it, though. She had a chocolate cupcake for dessert and that was also great just like the cupcake I had had before.
|Cardamon Rose Cupcake|
Overall, I give the restaurant a 3.75/5 stars. I'm hesitant to give them a full 4 stars mostly because it wasn't what I was expecting at all. The service was okay and the food was pretty good, but not extraordinary (as I was expecting from all the hype). If you want something really special, I would still say go to the Chicago Diner instead. Of course, I would come back to Native Foods, but it wouldn't be my top contender. I would probably go if it were nearby. Honestly, I am a huge fan of Handlebar, so I would probably walk over to them first. For non-vegans, I could see how Native Foods is a bit of a stretch as I suppose one would be comparing it to "real" meat and cheese. I would take non-vegans here to try it though and support an all-vegan establishment. Congratulations to Native Foods for their expansion outside of California and into the Midwest land of meat and potatoes. I hope that many hearts and minds are changed by the power of one's food choices (and their forks) at this all vegan cafe.
Photo Credit: Louis McGill