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March 25, 2010

A couple hungry, lazy vegetarians

Great SageA Dining@Large reader writes:

"This is really lame but it’s authentic. My wife’s birthday is coming up and I’d like to take her out for a nice dinner. We’re vegetarians.

"Lurker" -- he works with the Dining@Large lurker who put me onto Pigs' Feet Yat Gaw Mein -- "suggested Woodberry Kitchen, which sounds very Northern California. (We’re big fans of Northern California.) But its online menu is light on vegetarian entrees (specifically, one).

"The other option I’ve come up with is Great Sage in Clarksville. Not particularly convenient and they don’t take reservations for parties under five, which irritates me. But we’ll probably make the schlep.

"Unless you care to nag your readers for suggestions."

OK, gang. Consider yourself nagged.

Vegetarian adds: "Oh, the other upscale place we discarded is the Ambassador Dining Room (we go there a lot, meaning once a year for the last two years)."

UPDATE: I went back to Vegetarian to clarify just how hard-core veg he and Mrs. Vegetarian are. He said no fish or fish sauce. But they're not vegan, so dairy and eggs are OK.

I asked Vegetarian where he and his wife live, so readers can consider the schelp factor.

His reply: "Technically Lake-Walker, which [Sun real estate reporter] Jamie Hopkins targeted as a top-10 underrated neighborhood recently. (BFD.) It’s below Towson, in the city, east side of York Rd. at Lake Ave."

He added that he's leaning toward Great Sage, schelp or no schlep.

"We’ve been wanting to try Great Sage for a while. It’s just that we’re old and lazy and 45 minutes one-way is a drag."

Can you help the guy out?

Oaxacan Enchiladas and Great Sage Lasagna at Great Sage. Sun photo by Elizabeth Malby

Posted by Laura Vozzella at 11:49 AM | | Comments (21)


there are a ton of veg-friendly places listed here - i use this all the time and love it:

Hmmm... a few thoughts, top of my head, if you wanted to head into the city:

The Helmand
Tapas Teatro

Wouldn't vegetarians already know about the vegetarian restaurants in the city?

Mezze in Fells Point is awesome! Get the lima beans~

Yeah, the lima beans are pretty amazing, gotta agree!

Try the Dogwood. As a vegetarian, I found the food there EXCELLENT and there is more than one entree choice.

How about Thai? I usually see a lot of vegetarian dishes on Thai menus. For a recommendation...I really like My Thai in Mt. Vernon.

Almost all Thai food uses fish sauce. That's your tasty umami flavor.

Kitchen of India in Parkville on Joppa has a good number of vegetarian dishes.

Helmand. Second that. Dreaming of baby pumpkins.

If you want to make it a special occassion, try the Charleston. Let them know what you want when you make your reservations. Cindy will whip up an unbelievable 3, 4 or 5 course meal for you. I'm ovo-lacto, and I'm telling you, you won't be dissapointed.

Don't let the menu at Woodberry Kitchen fool you! I'm a vegetarian, and it's one of my favorite restaurants. True, there is usually only one main veg entree, but 1) it's always amazing, and 2) there are lots of other dining options besides just getting a main entree. I'd definitely recommend going there and trying a couple small plates. They always treat special-occasion diners very well! :)

I used to work at Great Sage, and it's definitely worth a trip some time, but both the food and service can be very inconsistent. I would be reluctant to go there for a special occasion.

Helmand is wonderful, but you could go there any night...doesn't seem special enough to me.

Also consider 'b' in Bolton Hill. I had a delicious pear and blue cheese pasta with a walnut sauce the last time I went. Very cozy, and I think they have some good veg options--specials too.

Hope your wife has a lovely birthday, wherever you choose to take her! :)

The Yabba Pot.

I second HampdenVeg's recommendation. I was very surprised when Woodberry Kitchen's menu was characterized as not veg-friendly, as that did not square with my impression of the offerings.

Link spam at 6:13 PM! (Another shill for something in the Turkish language.)

I'm vegan, and Woodberry Kitchen treated me very well. So did Roy's--the hostess who took our reservation asked about any dietary needs. The waiter was briefed in advance and offered me several options (the teriyaki tofu was super). Pizzazz (in the Harbor) is extremely veg-friendly, though I haven't been there yet.

Seriously, though, make the drive out to Great Sage. It's well worth it.

Great Sage is awesome, particularly since they've improved their menu. I like their mock crab cake, and their lentil walnut griddle cake, which is basically a lentil loaf serviced with mashed potatoes, gravy and lemon broccoli. Excellent desserts too, particularly their chocolate lava cake and their chocolate peanutbutter cheesecake.

Yabba Pot is excellent too, but in a different way.

Vegetables aren't food. Vegetables are what food eats.

Gee, RayRay, you know what opinions are like, don't you??

Go to Liquid Earth in Fells Point, ALL vegan and vegetarian....

I've tried Liquid Earth's food. Granted, it was at least a few years back, so grain of salt and all.

Not gonna lie - I couldn't help but sense that it was an unfortunate example of vegan/vegetarian cuisine living up to its flavorless-twigs-and-sprouts reputation.

How, the vegan menu at Red Emma's - that at least struck me as having the kind of unabashed fearlessness of flavor that makes you forget where the protein happens to be coming from.

And, as for Thai (and other Southeast Asian cuisine) containing loads of fish sauce. Remember that the OP specified "vegetarian", not necessarily "vegan".

Practicing Buddhists often enough let nam pla slide. It's thought that fish sauce, and its several independently-derived European equivalents, developed to make use of bycatch, or shallow-water seafood that would be too small for preparation as a main protein source.

A fish aint no vegetable mate.

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About this blog
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

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