With Lent having begun on March 1, and with many people "giving things up," such as chocolate and meat, we're taking a Lenten theme with the March issue of Where to Eat. Life without chocolate seems unfathomable — but we can surely survive without meat. Here are eight restaurants that make it easy to go meatless in March:
Restaurant inside The Modern serves a sustainably sourced menu of global cuisine. As a classic ladies-who-lunch spot, it has the expected gallery of salads, all of them impeccable. Two are entrée salads sans meat: Cauliflower salad has arugula, ranges, craisins, and almonds tossed in a cumin-y chermoula (Moroccan herb sauce) dressing. Cucumber chaat salad has cukes, tomatoes, Romaine, garbanzo beans, crispy quinoa, and coriander chutney.
Chadra Mezza and Grill
Named for the city in Lebanon from which chef Nehme Elbitar hails, Chadra serves Lebanese versions of Middle Eastern classics such as hummus and falafel. The surprise here is that there are just as many Italian dishes, such as eggplant lasagna and penne à la vodka. Whichever cuisine you favor, you'll find oodles of veggie options, from smoked eggplant dip to spaghettini with mushrooms to pizzas with Daiya nondairy cheese.
Owner Mary Perez describes her restaurant as "a healthy twist on Tex-Mex," with the food made in small batches on-site. The healthy part references the beneficial spices such as garlic, curry, and turmeric, and the use of olive oil instead of lard. There are vegetarian enchiladas, filled with poblano chiles, onions, zucchini, and yellow squash, and served with rice, beans, and a salad. Meatless easy-peasy.
Hanabi Ramen & Izakaya
Ramen spot in the Cultural District has eight varieties of ramen, plus a menu of izakaya, or small plates, with salads, edamame, dumplings, tempura, and skewers. In February, the restaurant introduced vegetable ramen, and it's a worthy addition. It's a veggie soup chock-a-block with ingredients — and flavor — including regular cabbage, Napa cabbage, wood-ear mushrooms, bean sprouts, bok choy, carrot, scallions, and noodles, of course.
Atlanta-based pizza chain is a favorite destination for vegetarian (and vegan) diners thanks to its wide selection of veg toppings, from artichoke hearts to caramelized onions to roasted red peppers to spinach, not to mention nondairy Daiya cheese. But it also has a pretty meaningful veggie burger made with quinoa, kale, brown rice, and roasted mushrooms, seasoned with roasted garlic and shallots, and finished with avocado, garlic aioli, Romaine lettuce, onion, and tomato, and served on a grilled brioche bun.
For a different kind of pie, Pizza Snob serves the upscale foodie crowd with build-your-own Neapolitan-style pizzas, just big enough for one. At two branches, including the original in Fort Worth and one in Denton, you walk down a cafeteria-style line, choosing ingredients for a pie that's assembled on the spot. Toppings have a gourmet bent: beer-glazed onions, Greek olive medley, or roasted potatoes, wonderful paired with candied jalapenos. They recently added a sprouted grain dough to their crust lineup, with purple corn, sorghum, millet, brown rice, chia, quinoa, and amaranth.
Chef Lanny Lancarte was clairvoyant in 2014 when he opened Righteous on West Seventh Street, pre-dating the DFW arrival of healthy-ish chains such as Modern Market, True Food Kitchen, and Flower Child. Eating meatless here is a snap, with options like risotto with shiitake mushrooms, and rice noodles with broccoli and tofu. Righteous is open for breakfast, too, with irresistible porridges and waffles made with flaxseed and dark chocolate.
Award-winning vegan restaurant is ground zero for meatless dining, and while there's a branch in Dallas and another opening soon in Denton, Fort Worth is where it all started. At Spiral, you don't have to scour the menu for "the meatless dish" — you can eat the whole damn thing, whether it's decadent loaded nachos, "sketti & meatballs," or a chopped "BBQ" sandwich. The Fort Worth branch is worth a special trip for the pastries, with cakes and pies that are among the best around.