Vegan. For many, the word invokes strong emotions. The most ardent vegans praise their diet/lifestyle as a healthier and more ethical alternative to traditional eating habits. Their opponents, on the other hand (which, up until recently, included myself), insist that food consisting of 100% plant-based products cannot possible taste as good or satisfy hunger as much as food that includes hearty meat or fish. I am willing to bet that most of these naysayers have never been to Jazzy Veggie.
Located on Main Street just next door to Vinology, on the block between Washington and Huron, Jazzy Veggie offers a wide variety of vegan dishes at modest prices. The restaurant’s mission, as stated on its website, is to show its patrons that “vegetarian cuisine doesn’t have to be just boiled or grilled veggies tossed in a bowl.”
To debunk this stereotype, Jazzy Veggie employs a winning strategy of preparing an assortment of vegan dishes that would otherwise contain meat while maintaining their flavorful seasonings and accompanying ingredients. In addition, the restaurant staff ensures that each of these dishes does not comprise on nutritional values, such as proteins, by replacing the meat with other rich ingredients. Jazzy Veggie’s unique veggie beef and veggie chicken both consist of organic grain flour and soy protein.
As a non-vegan, I was skeptical about the effectiveness of this strategy and lured in by my desire to put the restaurant’s challenge to the test by seeing for myself just how good the food really was.
I wasn’t disappointed.
The dining area was comfortably and simply furnished with casual tables and chairs throughout and free heath and wellness literature offered by the cash register. I ended up ordering a hearty enchilada for dinner, complete with black beans, peppers, veggie chicken and roasted potatoes, served with Spanish rice, guacamole and sour cream for $13.75. I was pleasantly surprised by the meal’s intense and savory flavors, which were nearly indistinguishable from those of actual chicken enchiladas I’ve previously eaten.
I was equally pleased that my meal left me satisfied yet not tired or overly-full, no doubt thanks to its healthier, plant-based ingredients. As such, I highly recommend it to all customers, especially those who are not fans of vegan food to begin with or those with selective palates.
If you’re still not convinced that vegan food can in fact be tasty and satisfying (or you just want to spend less for your meal), you may consider any of Jazzy Veggie’s other options besides the surprisingly satisfying enchilada. Go for the Ol’Western sandwich for $8.75 (complete with smoked apple sage veggie sausage in agave barbecue sauce, sautéed onions, mushrooms, vegan cheddar and Caesar dressing) or the hummus couscous wrap for $8 (with hummus, couscous, peppers, scallions, raisins, garbanzo, mint, orange slices, lettuce and ginger-lime dressing).
While your experience may not turn you into a vegan convert, at the very least it will instill a greater appreciation of the creative and tasty foods that can be made from the healthiest of ingredients. Well, that and the appreciation that there is now an easier way to get your daily serving of vegetables without choking down a V8 juice.
Location: 108 S. Main Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Hours of operation: Mon-Sat: 11 am-9 pm, Sun: 12 pm-5 pm
Price Range: $10-$15