An Exotic Superpower: veSTATION in Sherman Oaks
There are quite a few strip mall restaurants with signs advertising vegan food that inevitably always seem to be Thai. I’ve tried a couple different eateries, but have never fallen […]
CategoryEat & Drink
Written byKaren Young
There are quite a few strip mall restaurants with signs advertising vegan food that inevitably always seem to be Thai. I’ve tried a couple different eateries, but have never fallen ‘in love’…or actually never much ‘in like’ either. That all changed when I had lunch at veSTATION, a small, yet modern restaurant in Sherman Oaks which captured my attention because although it has a Thai element, it is also described as an ‘urban organic kitchen.’ Strangely, it has been open two years, so I’m not sure why it took me so long to find it — but I’m glad I finally did.
First, let me say that I am not vegan or vegetarian. I primarily eat vegetables and fish; however, I do enjoy a juicy steak or chicken on occasion.
The veSTATION menu items consist of a fusion of vegetables and super foods (kale and quinoa) mixed with traditional curries and Asian spices. The “meat” elements are tofu, tempeh, soy fish, soy chicken and soy pepper steak. The key to making these substitutes palatable is a light texture and veSTATION hits it on the mark.
The lunch menu is limited compared to the dinner menu, but there is still plenty of choice, plus you can add a soup or salad for $2. It’s more fun to share family style in order to experience the different dishes and flavors. Prices are about a $1 more per dish for dinner.
We started with the Quinoa Sticks ($4) which are similar to egg rolls, but these are stuffed with quinoa, shredded carrots, taro and scallions with a plum dipping sauce. They are very flavorful and not heavily fried. If you are an egg roll fan and are looking for a substitute, it’s a good choice.
Next up was the Buddha Wrap ($7)– a thin rice wrap cut in pieces and filled with lettuce, lemongrass tofu, buckwheat noodles and herbs, accompanied by a soy/sesame dipping sauce. Light and not heavily seasoned, it has a bit of a crunch which makes it feel more substantial.
We followed with the Superfoods Salad ($11) which consisted of kale, spinach, mixed greens, avocado, curry roasted almonds, cherry tomatoes, organic sunflower sprouts, topped with shredded beets and mixed with a pomegranate-sunflower pesto dressing. There’s a choice to add quinoa ($1) or tempeh ($3). The salad is beautiful presented and the vegetables are all fresh and crisp.
The next two dishes were more of a hearty variation, but still light with a perfect blending of spices. The Massaman Curry Soy Steak ($10) combined onions, carrots, cauliflower, potatoes, snow peas and roasted peanuts all mixed in a tamarind curry reduction. It’s just mildly spicy, but not so much that it doesn’t overpower the flavor of the vegetables. Our last entrée was the Royal Pad Thai Tofu ($9) — a sweet dish prepared with rice noodles, tofu, bean sprouts, scallions with a sprinkling of ground peanuts and flavored with tamarind sauce. It’s not as heavy as typical Pad Thai dishes, so it balances well with a denser curry dish.
We shared a refreshing, not-too-sweet Thai Ice Tea made with agave and almond milk. There are also wonderful sounding dessert options, including: Golden Crisp Banana & Coconut Ice Cream and Black Rice Pudding Lotus Seeds & Taro. We didn’t try one. Next time…I’ll definitely be back…and soon.
veSTATION is a keeper.
VeSTATION, 14435 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks, (818) 784-8388.
He’s Gwyneth’s partner.