We had a gift card for Horizon’s and while we’re not vegan, thought that the chef had to be pretty special to be invited to cook at the James Beard House. Horizons is a small room (611 S. 7th St, Phila, PA) with no more than 12 tables and some outside space too. When I think of Vegan food, I imagine a pile of vegetables and tofu: not so here. This restaurant made me feel like I could eat Vegan and not miss anything from my normal repertoire.
The wife had the Sunchoke & Leek Bisque which tasted like it was fresh from the garden. It was a light start to the meal. I enjoyed the Salt Roasted Golden Beets (smoked tofu, avocado, red onion & capers, cucumber dill sauce, pumpernickel points) which had a smoked tofu that tasted like it was smoked in a barrel outside for days. The combination of beets with the saltiness of the capers and dill sauce (how did they get it creamy without cream?) was perfect.
On to dinner…
My wife had Spring Vegetable Tart (fennel, leeks, arugula & fava bean purée, creamed black lentils, stuffed piquillo with rutabaga & new potato salad) which was exactly what you’d expect. Lots of fresh vegetables with a delicate crust. Not too heavy and full of flavor. I had the Grilled Seitan (yukon mash, grilled spinach, horseradish cream and roasted red pepper tapenade) which is pronounced like ‘Satan’; most people think this is the devil of vegan food with little taste and odd consistency. Anyone who feels this way should go directly to Horizons, do not pass go, do not collect $200, go there immediately. I’ve been inspired and am going to try to make it myself. Apparently, their supplier also sells a product at Whole Foods under the Ray’s name. The seitan was marinated and grilled just like the best grilled chicken you’ve ever had. My wife said that if all seitan tasted like this, she’d give up chicken. While the yukon mashed and grilled spinach were solid, the seitan itself was the superstar here, no doubt about it.
We didn’t have dessert, but if the rest of the food is any indication, I’m certain it too would have been wonderful.