Monday, March 24, 2014

Restaurant Review: Urban Vegan in Chicago...

A couple of weeks ago I finally got the chance to eat at Urban Vegan which is a cute little Thai place with locations in Lake View and Lincoln Park. For the past few years I’ve seen Urban Vegan kiosks at the major veg-friendly festivals in the city - most notably Vegan Mania - and I always pick up something to eat at their booth, vowing that I’ll one day make it to one of their physical locations. However, like with so many other things, I just never actually got around to it until now. I really wish I’d made the effort to go sooner though, because Urban Vegan is serving up some of the best damn Thai food - vegan or otherwise - this side of Thailand. For real.

My husband and I chose to go to the Lake View location - because it’s closer to our house. It’s a surprisingly tiny little place, yet it doesn’t feel overcrowded. We took a booth in the back right corner and settled in to peruse the menu. With so many amazing options I’ll tell you, it was mighty difficult to choose. They serve up everything from noodles and rice, to classic Asian-fusion entrees like Orange chicken, and Sweet and Sour - to soups,  salads, burgers, wraps, appetizers, and a cute little chef’s special menu that’s somewhat of a hodgepodge of Asian, Pan-Asian, and American dishes.


As we sat mesmerized by the menu two complimentary bowls of miso soup arrived for us to enjoy. We were both grateful for the soup considering it was still pretty cold out in Chicago. Not -20 or anything but cold enough that snow was still piled up in the gutters and a jacket was a necessity. I enjoyed the miso - I always do, and drank it down pretty fast, and then it was time for appetizers.

Steamed Curry Dumplings

My husband who loves dumplings could not help himself and ordered a plate of the Steamed Curry Dumplings  - not that I’m complaining! - which was a veggie dumpling in a green curry sauce. These were so soft, and delicious, and the curry sauce was super flavorful without being overly spicy. I loved them. To go with our dumplings I ordered a plate of the chicken satay, this is where I couldn’t help myself. I’ve already mentioned my love of satay and so I couldn’t pass up the chance to order a plate of vegan chicken satay in an actual restaurant. This was phenomenal, hands down some of the best satay I’ve ever had - vegan or otherwise - the soy chicken was really flavorful and chewy like I remember chicken being, and the light curry flavored sauce it was coated in was divine, but the satay sauce itself was the real winner. Man, oh man, I could have eaten the sauce by itself - actually, come to think of it I did sneak a few spoonfuls of straight sauce one all our skewers were gone, don’t judge!  It was creamy, peanuty, and decadent, a tad sweet, a tad salty, it was perfect. I highly recommend it.

Chicken Satay 

For our main meals my husband went with one of the Chef Specials called Shrimp Spinach Noodle. This is a plate of spinach noodles, with soy shrimp in a curry sauce with some mixed vegetables. He really enjoyed it, though he thought it was a tad on the spicy side. I took a little bite and didn’t think it was overly spicy but to each their own. It was definitely good, that’s for sure.

Shrimp Spinach Noodle

I of course went with the Pad Thai, have I told y’all about how much I love Pad Thai? Well I do. It’s hands down my favorite Thai dish, in fact, it might just be one of my favorite foods ever. I never ever get tired of it. I could eat it all day long and still want more. There is just something so absolutely magical about the combination of flavors that make up Pad Thai. It’s sweet, tart, salty, savory, there’s crunch, there’s soft noodles, and fried tofu - it’s perfection. I’m a bit of a Pad Thai connoisseur actually, and so whenever we got to an Asian restaurant that serves Pad Thai I always order it. It doesn’t matter how many other great things are listed on the menu, it doesn’t matter if I think something else looks good, I always, always order Pad Thai because I’m always in search of the ‘best’ Pad Thai. Up until now my favorite Pad Thai has been the tofu Pad Thai served at Wok ‘n’ Fire a Japanese, Pan-Asian restaurant out here, and no matter where I go I’ve never found a Pad Thai that matches it. Until now. Urban Vegan has the hands down best freaking Pad Thai I’ve ever eaten anywhere. They blow everyone else out of the water, and I should know, because I’ve eaten Pad Thai all over the place. Halfway through my plate I was full to the point of bursting but It was so good that I couldn’t stop eating it. You must get this if you go to Urban Vegan, you won’t be sorry. The only thing I would do differently is next time I will just order my Pad Thai with tofu rather then tofu and soy shrimp. I really liked the novelty of ordering the shrimp, but they were not necessary in my opinion.

Pad Thai 

For dessert we had just enough room between the two of us to share a half shell of coconut ice cream with chocolate drizzle. Even though it was still a bit frosty outside this was a nice end to the meal and I really enjoyed it.

Coconut Ice Cream 

The whole experience was great really, the food was out of this world and the service was fast and friendly. There was ample street parking available, and the price was pretty moderate. Some of the appetizer and the dessert portions were a little on the small side, but the main dishes were quite large. I will definitely be going back again soon, and if you haven’t been I’m telling you, make the effort, the trip is 100% worth it!

Urban Vegan

Lincoln Park
1550 W Fullerton Ave. Chicago IL 60614
Tel: 773-472-8208
Monday -Closed
Tues - Thursday 11:00 am - 9:30 pm
Friday - Saturday 11:00 am - 10:00 pm
Sunday 12:00 am - 9:00 pm

Lake View
1605 W Montrose Ave. Chicago IL 60613
Tel: 773-404-1109
Monday - 4:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Tues - Thursday 11:00 am - 9:30 pm
Friday - Saturday 11:00 am - 10:00 pm
Sunday 12:00 am - 9:00 pm

PS: Wok'n'Fire's Pad Thai is still amazing, a close second, it not tied with UV

1 comment:

  1. Oh, man! This place was really good & I'm glad we were able to finally go. Just thinking about the satay & dumplings is making me hungry. hah I just wish they were closer so we could go regularly!