Restaurant Review: By Stephen Silverman
Casa de Luz
It may be vegan, but it tastes like real food...
AMONG OMNIVORES, VEGAN can be a dirty word. More than a few consider vegan a joyless cuisine because the emphasis is strongly on healthful rather than tasty eating. So it's a pleasure to welcome the newly arrived Casa de Luz.
As part of North Park's ever-growing restaurant cluster, Casa de Luz serves critter-free organic food. Anything that even momentarily walked, waddled, swam, slithered or flapped its wings is denied entrance, including creature by-products such as honey, butter, milk and eggs. Veganism is mostly a plant-based cuisine and, in the hands of sophisticated Casa de Luz practitioners, those plants can turn even an omnivore's head.
Offering a new menu every day, Casa de Luz soups have included vegetable miso and a silken yam and squash puree. Featured salads range from crunchy pickled dikon to squash carpaccio and on to a sensationally flavorful red quinoa with onions and nuts. Entrées are sometimes modest, such as a lentil cake with onions, pecans and walnuts or impressive and complex like a stuffed sweet-potato tamale. And don't even think about leaving without dessert. They're not only delicious but treats like the chocolate truffles are just plain astonishing.
With its new and unusual menu, Casa de Luz has lots to recommend it. Service, however, is a problem.
SERVICE: Most personnel at Casa de Luz seem untrained. That's meant confusion, reluctant assistance and humorlessness. Management appears oblivious.
PATRONS: Young and old of the vegetarian persuasion, along with the curious.
PARKING: Look for street parking or head for the parking garage at the nearby North Park Theatre.
DETAILS: Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day. Soups are $6.75, salads are $5.75 and entrées are $11.50. Soup or salad and an entrée are available for $14.75. Beer and wine only. 2920 University Ave., North Park.