Chef Marcel Vigneron is claiming his “steak” on Melrose Ave. Right next door to the sleek, meat-centric Wolf is Beefsteak, a vegetable-centered dining spot that serves up salads, bowls, and snacks in a cheery setting.
Beefsteak itself refers not to meat but to beefsteak tomatoes, one of the many veggies the restaurant features among its salads, bowls, wraps, and snacks.
This tribute to healthy eating somewhat ironically fills what was once the space of a burger bar, and features an airy SoCal look replete with plants and bleached, rustic wood in the interior.
While not entirely vegan – the restaurant offers some meat items in the form of additions to the menu – the spotlight is front and center on what Vigneron calls “the best produce and local ingredients…from socially conscious purveyors.” Open for breakfast, lunch, and an early dinner Monday-Sunday 9 to 6 p.m., the chef seeks sustainability in all practices and supports “our community through partnerships with local vendors and producers.” All of which sounds like a heavy load, perhaps, but with a menu as bright and cheerful as the restaurant’s vibe, that’s hardly the case.
Vigneron may be returning a bit to his roots on Bainbridge Island, Wash., with his predilection for fresh produce and local vendors, and his cozy yet hip, neighborhood-style atmosphere.
Reasonably priced salads range from a lovely take on baby kale with turmeric hummus, Castelvetrano olives, roasted cauliflower, carrots, and for a little extra zing and crunch, black pepper pumpkin seeds. A Sunflower Caesar features Romaine lettuce with nutritional yeast and hemp seeds subbing for the traditional anchovies. On the bowl side of things, one of the most popular appears to be the K-Town, served with a choice or split of quinoa or rice, along with kimchi, broccoli, sesame seeds, and particularly crisp and flavorful toasted seaweed. There’s also adzuki beans, ginger, and a tangy gochujang dressing. The Oaxacamole Bowl is particularly tasty and filling with beans and salsa verde, a nicely citrus-bright guacamole, pico de gallo, and chipotle fabanaise. Not familiar with fabanaise? It’s egg-free mayo crafted of sunflower oil and aquafaba, a natural egg substitute that combines chickpeas and water.
Non-vegan additions can be made to dishes, such as poached eggs, chicken, Korean short ribs, cotija cheese, and shrimp. Avocado is another add-on.
On the snack side of the menu, there’s a particularly piquant Celeriac, Cauliflower, and Curry Soup dressed with harissa peppers; a yogurt parfait, and a collection of pickled veggies that makes a nice accompaniment to another snack: sweet potato chips with turmeric hummus. Tumeric, by the way, isn’t just a flavorful spice, it’s a health-affirming curcuminoid that provides powerful anti-inflammatory effects and serves as a strong antioxidant.
Given that Beefsteak is open for breakfast, there are some singularly breakfast-y snacks on the menu too, such as the Macha Olive Oil Cake, blueberry nut bars, a gluten free chocolate tart with oat crust, and Chia Porridge, lush with dates.
The juice bar offerings tackle the usual subjects: a flavorful Original Green, a Tumeric Tonic, and add-on shots such as honey, lemon, ginger, or cayenne. The most unusual juice is the rich Honey Cream with pineapple and coconut. Some black pepper and ginger add a nice bite of definition. Smoothies are solid enough to serve as meals, like the Blue Bonanza made with almond milk, blueberry, banana, plant protein and almond butter. Additions can be made too, such as bee pollen.
There are also lattes – including a refreshing Hibiscus latte made with almond milk, Stumptown coffees, and Art of Tea teas.
High quality cocktails are available, too, such as the hibiscus-redolent Flower Power made with leaf vodka. Cute and an honestly great idea are $5 Retox While You Detox shots of vodka, gin, rum, or tequila which can be added to any juice or smoothie. There are nice, high-end wines too, available by glass or bottle.
All in all, the answer to where’s the beefsteak is simple – right next door to Wolf, drawing a health-conscious but fun loving crowd on Melrose Ave.
7661 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046