I have a new story up on Dinela.com called “An LA Carnivore’s Guide to Veggie Dining.” The biggest delight in writing the piece was the wonderful meal I experienced at Madeleine Bistro in Tarzana. Run by husband and wife team David and Molly Anderson, Madeleine serves fine, animal-free cuisine. Sound like an oxymoron? I was shocked by how tasty and filling the food was. David Anderson is a bit of a vegan genius. A veteran of five-star restaurants, he was the only student in his culinary school class to get an A in butchering, although he temporarily lost his voice from the stress.
My favorites were the artistically presented beet tartar, the grilled lemon rosemary seitan and the chocolate souffle. Don’t ask me how he does the souffle without any eggs or milk. Like I said, he’s a genius. If you’re looking for something a little less fancy, he also makes comfort food, including a surprisingly delicious veggie version of the Big Mac for lunch. I brought the leftovers home to Victor, who is the biggest fan ofFogo de Chao‘s all-you-can-eat Brazilian steakhouse that I know. He devoured the vegan cuisine and licked his fingers.
If you can’t imagine driving to the Valley for a vegan meal, then wait six months. The Andersons are currently securing financing and looking for a space in West Hollywood to launch a new vegan restaurant by the end of the year. The new place will be “bigger, with a bar, more of a scene kind of place,” says co-owner Molly Anderson. It will also have a new name.
The Andersons have no plans to close Madeleine, but they are considering making it a more casual restaurant to fit with its Valley setting. Whole Foods is opening up nearby, and Yoga Works is coming in across the street. So they want to capitalize on the post-yoga crowd. Right now, hungry yogis sporting Hard Tail and mats may feel out of place at a fancy restaurant with tablecloths.
As a fledgling yoga teacher who worries about the environment, I’m trying to incorporate more vegetarian meals into my diet. Madeleine makes that easy. When the food is this good, you don’t miss the meat. We swear. – Jenny
Madeleine Bistro, 18621 Ventura Blvd., Tarzana; 818-758-6971.