Red quinoa with roasted artichoke hearts and fava beans in a light tomato… (Tal Ronnen )
Tal Ronnen, a chef aiming to bring veganism to the masses, opens "plant-based" restaurant Crossroads on Melrose Avenue on Thursday.
The menu at Crossroads, Ronnen's first L.A. restaurant, features his vegan, Mediterranean-influenced small plates in a chandeliered, wood-floored dining room designed by Studio Collective.
Ronnen, author of "The Conscious Cook," teamed with entertainment and hospitality veterans Steve Bing and Parnell F. Delcham to open the white-tablecloth, all-vegetable restaurant in the former Phillipe Chow space at the corner of Sweetzer Avenue. The executive chef is Scot Jones.
On the menu are dishes such as morel mushroom gravy with focaccia biscuits; artichoke "oysters" with artichoke purée, crispy oyster mushroom, yellow tomato béarnaise and kelp caviar; herb risotto-stuffed banana peppers with basil lime beurre blanc; and caramelized leek flatbread with crispy root vegetables.
"I just can't do the 'throw some vegetables and a starch on a plate' thing," Ronnen once said in an L.A. Times profile. "That's the problem with most vegan dishes. It's a portobello mushroom cap, or a pasta primavera, and when you're finished with dinner you have to hit the drive-through. You have to give people something that will satisfy them."
Pastry chef Serafina Magnussen's desserts include chocolate bundt cake with chocolate whiskey sauce and carrot cake ice cream with candied carrot chips.
The Studio Collective-designed space features wood crown molding and wing-backed chairs, a private dining room marked by pocket doors and an antique glass wall where an original Toulouse Lautrec print hangs.
And at the 11-seat bar of antique glasswork and pearl-finished beer taps, mixologist Gaston Martinez is heading the drinks menu of seasonal cocktails. Fancy vegan is here.
8284 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood, (323) 782-9245, www.crossroadskitchen.com.
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