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Vgë Café in Bryn Mawr Review: A Clean, Green Machine

Vgë Cafe’s veggie burger. (Photo by Jared Castaldi)

Vgë Cafe’s veggie burger. (Photo by Jared Castaldi)

The mere mention of seitan or meatless cheesesteaks is enough to send any carnivore we know running for the closest burger joint. But Vgë Café in Bryn Mawr is out to change the way we think about healthy fast food.

Bemoaning the lack of nutritious, affordable vegetarian and vegan cuisine out there, owner Fernando Peralta set out to redefine the concept without sacrificing taste, flavor or satiety. Everything that comes out of his small, immaculate kitchen is 100-percent vegan, fewer than 500 calories and made from scratch. It’s also tasty.

The menu isn’t large, with only soups, salads and sandwiches available. But the casual fare at Vgë (pronounced vee-gee) is more meal-like than you’d think, the whole grains and fresh vegetables packing a filling punch.

The black-eyed-pea salad—fresh diced vegetables tossed with a zesty lemon vinaigrette—is a delightfully light and refreshing alternative to greens, while the whole-grain pasta salad benefits from a tasty pesto-and-olive tapenade.

The “meaty” homemade veggie burger holds up well in its hearty whole-wheat bun. Ground lentils and flax make for a satisfying combination, while earthy spices add a rich and aromatic kick. Topped with a creamy vegan aioli, collards and tomatoes, there’s nothing lacking in something that works this well. For the falafel wrap, typically deep-fried balls of chickpeas, herbs and spices are actually baked and covered in a tangy hummus, tahini and vegetable spread.

Provided by Vegan Treats bakery in Bethlehem, the desserts are a must, especially the chocolate-peanut-butter mousse bomb—so delicious we’d choose it over a non-vegan version any day of the week.

845-B Lancaster Ave., Bryn Mawr; (610) 527-3091, vgecafe.com.

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