I have considered posting a personal Ad in the OC register stating “Female foodie seeks VeggieGrill restaurant chef to marry.”
I frequent the VeggieGrill in Irvine for dinner on weeknights and lunch/dinner on weekends. I have never left unsatisfied and become only more impressed with each visit. For me, it is a 18-mile drive round-trip just to visit so obviously it is worth the fuel.
There is no room for disappointment on the VeggieGrill menu. Though I have not tried all menu items yet, all items I have tried were absolutely delicious.
Menu description: Chillin’ chickin’, romaine, cabbage, green onion, sesame seeds, toasted corn salsa, with a sesame vineigrette
I order this salad at every visit. I have tried to be open-minded to try the other salads but I am just in love with this one. I substitute the ‘Chillin’ chickin’ for grilled tempeh and every bite is a piece of heaven. They add generous amounts of quinoa, tempeh, and cilantro - my all-time favorite ingredients in salad. The first time I ordered this I was with one of my best friends, deep in conversation, and I went speechless after the first bite.
Menu description: Grilled veggie-steak, marinated in Mexican spices, with southwestern spiced vegan mayo, red onion, lettuce, tomato on a wheat roll
The perfect sandwich to hit the spot. Small enough to eat by yourself, big enough to share with another person…hopefully that makes sense (you just have to buy it to see what I mean). Comes with veggies and a sauce to perfect it.
Menu description: Indonesian styled tempeh, sauteed and grilled, lettuce, tomato, red onion, chipotle ranch. Add avocado, portobello mushroom or chili for $1.50. Blackened upon request
I purchase it with portobello mushroom and request that the tempeh is blackened. It is a tempeh sandwich at its best. Too much goodness on one bun.
The best faux BBQ/grilled chicken I’ve ever had as a vegan, hands down. I’m always weary of trying faux meats but this one was delicious. The wrap appears small at first glance, but man is it filling. They are generous with the chicken and have you wishing you had a bigger stomach to fit it all.
Menu description: Grilled veggie-steak stacked with onion rings, lettuce, tomato, pickles, thousand island dressing.
The best steak sandwich I've had, complete with onion rings and a savory sauce. To die for!
Menu description: Marinated and grilled veggie-steak burger, pickles, lettuce, tomato, onion, chipotle ranch. Add avocado, portobello mushroom or chili for $1.50.
I typically don't like 'burger' meats but this one was tasty! I ordered it with portobello and it was absolutely divine. Delicious.
Sweet Potatoe Fries
If you’re craving french fries, this is the best way to settle. Lightly seasoned and perfectly prepared. They are my daughter’s absolute favorite.
THE MUST-HAVE(S) - the items you must have when you visit
1.) Chocolate Chip cookies. Honestly, there are times where I will go to lunch/dinner at other vegan restaurants then end up going to VeggieGrill just to pick up a cookie…or two. OR when I’m waiting for my to-go order, I will end up eating half of the cookie while waiting because I just can’t resist. You MUST have one.
2.) Carrot Cake. I never cared for Carrot Cake as an omnivore, and didn’t really care for it as a vegan UNTIL I had a piece from VeggieGrill. It is now one of my favorite desserts. You have to try it. Better than any other slice I’ve had in my life.
DEAL-BREAKER - the complaints
1.) I wish I could purchase the cookies in bulk! :D I’d purchase 2-dozen
2.) I wish the Carrot Cake came double-layered…and in bulk, lol.
Really though, there are no complaints. I visit frequently and never leave unsatisfied.
THE TEST - the dining experience with 2-year-old Brooke
Brooke typically behaves well in restaurants as she enjoys the new environment and the different things she gets to experience. However, she caused a little ruckus at her first visit to VeggieGrill.
Mind you, I’m not one of those parents that don’t discipline their child, but at restaurants I let her go a little bit to see the character of the staff. I let her brew a little bit to see how far they let her go. I don’t let her get out of hand, just enough to see that she has caught their attention.
At VeggieGrill she got out of her seat, danced in the walkway, asked a waitress for another cookie, etc. She wasn’t obnoxious at all but she definitely caught the attention of the staff. The restaurant PASSED the test - instead of acting or speaking rashly, they gave her a little kids pack which includes a menu, crayons, and a little toy; the waiter talked to her and offered to get a smaller cup for her water; the staff gave her attention to see if they could make her comfortable. The character of the staff is the true test of any establishment - obviously VeggieGrill has maintains a nourishing, caring environment for all customers, including 2-year-olds.
THE EXCEPTION - what makes VeggieGrill unique
Co-CEO Kevin Boylan cares about the establishment. He ensures quality in the service provided to all customers, and in my brief experience with him, he is clearly compassionate about every visitor’s experience at the VeggieGrill. He open-mindedly welcomes feedback and responds to customer inquiries. How do you establish a thriving business? You observe from the roots and react accordingly, as Kevin does.