Date night at a South­ern restau­rant with veg­e­tar­ian op­tions

The Denver Post - - LIFE & CULTURE - By Danika Wor­thing­ton

It’s date night. You and the sig­nif­i­cant other are head­ing to a play, con­cert, maybe a movie, and you need a place to eat ahead of time. But as veg­e­tar­i­ans, where do you go?

How about a South­ern restau­rant?

Yes, I am sug­gest­ing a South­ern restau­rant to veg­gos. But Tu­pelo Honey isn’t typ­i­cal; it’s a myth­i­cal crea­ture: a South­ern restau­rant with veg­e­tar­ian op­tions.

Walk­ing into a South­ern restau­rant can at times be dis­ap­point­ing. You may be of­fered a small side salad or end the night with a stom­ach mad at you for try­ing the col­lard greens — which ap­par­ently every­one but me knows in­cludes meat.

But that’s not the case at Tu­pelo Honey, a self-de­scribed re­vival on South­ern food that re­cently opened its first lo­ca­tion at Union Sta­tion on We­watta and 17th streets.

A group of co-work­ers and I headed over on a re­cent Thurs­day be­cause, well, why not? I hadn’t ex­pected much, so I sighed as I picked up the menu — only to gasp. There were ... op­tions. Granted, there was only one veg­e­tar­ian en­tree, but there were shared and small plates!

There are enough so that you could go to Tu­pelo Honey for a veg­e­tar­ian date night — as long as you’re OK with get­ting the same main plate as your part­ner.

(There are dif­fer­ent veg­e­tar­ian op­tions for lunch and brunch. But we’re do­ing date night here, so I’m stick­ing with the din­ner menu.)

Shared plates

Cat­head Bis­cuits: These big pup­pies are named cat­head be­cause they’re as large as, you know, a cat’s head. As my col­league Jon Mur­ray elo­quently put it, “These bis­cuits are, like, se­ri­ous.” The two South­ern­ers in our com­pany also gave their nod of ap­proval. They were soft, eas­ily fall­ing in half to grace­fully ac­cept a slather­ing of house-made blueberry com­pote mixed with whipped but­ter or honey, pre­sented in adorably small honey bear bot­tles. Price: two for $8; four for $10.

Fried Green Toma­toes: These came out to a se­ries of “oohs and aahs,” served sit­ting on some goat cheese grits that will warm up any­one’s heart. The toma­toes are topped with basil, roast- ed red pep­per coulis and a dol­lop of grits. Price: $12.

Golden Beet Carpac­cio: I’m not nor­mally a beet girl. But these beets were great. Our dig­i­tal video ed­i­tor and com­mon beet eater Amy Brothers also ap­proved of the dish, say­ing it wasn’t too earthy. The root was topped with goat cheese, beech mush­rooms, sherry vinai­grette and shallots. Price: $12.

En­tree

Cauliflower Steak: Ah, yes, the trusted cauliflower, al­ways there for a veg­e­tar­ian in need. The chefs cut the cauliflower in half, grilling the bot­tom un­til it’s slightly charred. It sits on a cloud of mashed potatoes topped with parsnip purée, quinoa and beech mush­rooms. And it’s fill­ing. Price: $22.

Now, say your part­ner is one of those meat-eat­ing folks. As a veg­e­tar­ian, you don’t have to be con­cerned be­cause Tu­pelo Honey prides it­self on us­ing eth­i­cally raised meats (as well as fruits and veg­eta­bles). There are also plenty of fish op­tions, too. A list of pur­vey­ors is on its web­site in case you want to make sure they’re up to your stan­dards.

Danika Wor­thing­ton, The Den­ver Post

Tu­pelo Honey’s fried green toma­toes is one of the veg­e­tar­ian op­tions at the South­ern restau­rant.

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