Thursday, January 24, 2013 , Updated 12:00 p.m., February 8, 2013
First look: Soon-to-open Peak & Elm fills a vacuum in Dallas’ vegan dining scene
It's slated to open February 8.
EXPOSITION PARK As much as I’m proud of not using it in this article’s title, I can’t help but say we got a “sneak peek” at Peak & Elm last night (OK, I feel better). It’s owned by long time-Dallas favorite La Popular Tamale House, which also happens to be vegan-friendly with bean and veggie tamales as well as vegan rice and beans. Given its pedigree, we were excited to check out the vegan items in-store at Peak & Elm. Open to the public on February 8, the New East Elm neighborhood restaurant opened this week to local media for a tasting event showcasing their “traditional Mexican” dishes. Read: fresh and local ingredients, prepared daily, and -- (sorry) –- no chips and salsa! Here’s what we enjoyed…
Taking the place of said chips and salsa was a Cruditos appetizer -- a light yet flavorful mix of jicama, carrot, onion, and bell pepper, marinated in a spicy apple cider vinegar dressing. A perfect warm-up to the meal ahead (as opposed to the typical appetite-kill of chips and salsa).
Next up were some refreshing Veggie Taquitos. Stuffed inside a delicately crisped wheat tortilla were some of the most amazingly roasted vegetables I’ve had at a restaurant in a long time. Though they were your standard Tex-Mex veggies (tomato, pepper, and onions) – they were roasted to perfection – cooked just before the point they would become a mushy mess. The caramelizing of the onions was fantastic!
Though the next course of “Veggie Fajitas” initially didn’t look like much, the house-made tortillas saved what could have been a rather lackluster dish. As a fellow diner that evening remarked, tortillas are often just a vehicle to deliver the ingredients they hold inside – and less a distinctive part of the dish. These tortillas were slightly thicker than your typical store-bought tortilla, and held substantial weight over its contents – more like a bun would a burger. If you’re a fan of the flavor of tortillas, this will excite you – as it intensifies the tortilla enjoyment while you’re finishing the dish. This dish came with roasted veggies as previously mentioned, as well as a dollop of chunky and simple (and very good) guacamole and pico.
Last, but not least, Peak & Elm even had a vegan dessert for us to try – Dessert Empanadas! Peach and cherry were the flavors, and they were quite a treat. The homemade crust was thick yet fluffy, so the fruits had a chance to come through with flavor. Slightly dusted with sugar, these desserts were not overly sweet, but certainly sweet enough to satisfy – especially in the dessert-starved area of vegan dining in Dallas.
As said before, Peak & Elm is a couple weeks out from opening to the public, so they’re still tweaking the menu (which will likely continue on through their opening). They are extremely open to feedback, so if you check them out, let them know what you think – and what they might do to add other vegan options. They are working on a Vegan Burger and will also carry tamales from La Popular. The options should be plentiful.
Pegasus News Content partner - Dallas Vegan
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