I am not creature of habit. But after nearly 5 years working in NYC’s Murray Hill there were two things you could count on:
- Finding me at the Patrick Kavanagh Pub after work
- Eating mujadara from Kalustyan’s at least once a week
When I moved to Los Angeles, the crisp onion and smashed lentils of Mujadara exited my life. But two year later, thanks to an invite to try a new vegetarian/vegan friendly menu at Urban Garden, it has returned to my common rotation! While the mujadara is decent, what sends me over the edge here the Garlic Sauce!
The garlic sauce doesn’t sound like much, and it really isn’t–just olive oil, garlic and salt–but I refused to believe it was vegan until confirming to the chef. Whipped into a creamy white sauce, the olive oil radiates a ridiculous amount of sharp garlic and tastes great on absolutely everything.
Since the tasting, I now eat here all the time. The Fried Cauliflower is a favorite. Despite the occasionally over cooked batch, when the tender white flesh is seared with blacked caramelized tips, it’s perfect in a wrap or on with a platter—dipped in garlic sauce of course. The heavy smokiness of the Baba Ganoush is spot on, though it proved too much for one of my blander friends, this is by far my favorite of their dips options.
When I’m not in the mood to risk it with cauliflower, the organic chickpea and red quinoa Falafel has never failed. It always arrives with a thick, but not oily, shell holding moist innards… which again go perfectly with the garlic sauce. The Vegetable Kibbeh is a special indulgence. Kibbeh, a torpedo-shaped bulger dumpling, is normally filled with goat or beef or lamb or whatnot. At Urban Garden (and The Little Door) it’s not only vegetarian, but vegan friendly! A little sweet, full of flavor—and pine nuts—it’s a must try for any veg since it’s so hard to come by.
The Spicy Cilantro and Garlic Potatoes are not as spicy as they sound. The subtle sauce can get lost against the bold flavors of other choices, like the Kale, Quinoa & Beet Salad. Yes, I just called a salad bold. Dressed in a deliciously super tart dressing, this salad benefits from being paired with the subtle nature of the potatoes. At least until I douse those potatoes in the dreamy garlic sauce.
The only thing that drives me a crazy at Urban Garden is that platters max out at 3 choices. It’s more than enough food, but with so many options, I have the darnedest time limiting myself to just three.
446 N Fairfax Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90036