There’s a Vegetarian Restaurant in Boulder. No, Really.

It’s called Leaf. And for those of you scoffing, “Duh. Of course there’s a vegetarian restaurant in Boulder. It’s Boulder,” I challenge you to name me one other all-vegetarian restaurant in a 10 mile radius. And the now-defunct Cafe Prasad doesn’t count, because they’re now defunct. Boulder has more steak houses then vegetarian restaurants. If you can think of another vegetarian restaurant around here, I’d be glad to know of it. Tell.

Me and some friends had dinner at Leaf last weekend. It’s on 16th just north of Pearl, next-door to Aji, shares the bathroom corridor with it. Their names show up side-by-side on the credit card receipt, like this: “Aji/Leaf.” Too bad they aren’t one restaurant. Then your omnivores could order atún enrollado en cacahuates y plátanos fritos while your vegetarians could have the jamaican jerk tempeh. As it is, you have to separate out and then synchronize your watches so you can meet clandestinely outside the restrooms to pass notes.

Or you could just all eat at Leaf.

Which is not to say that you should avoid Aji, Aji is absolutely delicious, I can’t wait to go with that friend of mine again so we can try two more of their dishes. But I gotta say that at Leaf the omnivores won’t feel badly treated by the obligation to eat vegetarian that night. One of our small plate appetizers was the seitan skewers (and yes, it is absolutely a homophone for “Satan,” sorry, we’ll all just have to get over it) and they tasted pretty darn meaty. And, having eaten there during the lunch period later on in the week, I can confidently assert that the philly cheese “steak” sandwich, made also with seitan, was close enough to the cow-sourced original that only the most insecure of carnivores–you know, the ones who swallowed the “real men don’t eat quiche” and “tofu makes you gay” canards whole–would complain. That night at dinner, I had the mooshu vegetable, and discovered that the coconut rice isn’t nearly as sweet as I’d feared. My husband had the thin crust pizza and pronounced it divine. He doesn’t usually eat artichoke hearts, but he felt no need to pick them off and was glad he hadn’t.

Now, Leaf aren’t unique among Boulder restaurants in trying to stick to organic, seasonal, and–where feasible–local ingredients. I think Sunflower and the Greenbriar Inn do much of that, too. But who cares about unique. It’s a good trend to follow. It leads to a few inconveniences, of course. The fiddlehead fern small plate is no longer available at the time of this writing. Fiddlehead ferns are out of season. But, oh well. I had a second choice ready to order, what with the very hard time I’d had choosing the dish in the first place. Also, while agonizing over the entrée selection, I noticed that the phyllo mushroom purses are stuffed with fungus from Hazel Dell, whose vending table I make a point of visiting whenever I’m at the farmer’s market. So you know that’s gotta be good. Mmm, shitake!

So. Check out their menu, decide what looks too fascinating to live an evening longer without sampling, and get thee in there and sample it.

5 Comments so far

  1. garbanzito (unregistered) on July 27th, 2007 @ 2:06 pm
  2. Tree (unregistered) on July 27th, 2007 @ 4:14 pm

    MmmmmMMMMmmm…shall have to go there some time. You’re right. There really isn’t another totally veggie restaruant in Boulder.

    I was sad to see Cafe Prasad go, and the Boulder co-op in general. Their selection got worse and worse as they couldn’t afford to stock their shelves. I was a dedicated patron until I realized that I just couldn’t get the stuff I needed there anymore. Last time I went there was for Lemon Balm (which they didn’t have). They said the jar had been empty for weeks. Odd, I thought. If they weren’t going to get more they should take the jar away. Then I realized they couldn’t afford to get more. It was sad.

    No more yoga classes.

  3. Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little (unregistered) on July 27th, 2007 @ 8:28 pm

    Tree: Yeah, that is sad. Not that I’d been going to yoga classes much recently, but still. Boulder ought to have a co-op. There’s a healthy multi-location co-op in Seattle–I wonder how they’ve managed to stay up and running all these years.

    Garbanzito: That’s an awesome recommendation! I hadn’t heard of V. G. Burgers before, but they’re right in my neighborhood. And look at all that selection–it’s better than the Gardenburger display in the grocery frozen foods department! Are they new? Did they take over from the A&W/KFC monstrosity? Goodness knows my husband is always on the quest for the perfect veggie burger. We’ll have to check it out.

  4. potpourri (unregistered) on August 7th, 2007 @ 10:09 am

    Am I glad or am I glad to have read this post(and the comments)? :D I’m grinning ear to ear to find some new recommendations to try..My husband and I love to try new food but we are vegetarians ,so its kinda complicated in this country. Thanks!

  5. potpourri (unregistered) on August 7th, 2007 @ 10:11 am

    and oh, you can try Govindas in Cherry Street, Denver a shot. It is completely vegetarian.

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