CC Foodie – Doomie’s

When you think “vegan,” what comes to mind? Salad, vegetables – painfully healthy? If that’s the case, a trip to Doomie’s will wipe away any preconceived notions you might have. On the corner of Duquesne and Culver, Doomie’s is in a space that a series of other restaurants have tried and failed to fill. It’s the second Doomie’s location in Los Angeles, specializing in vegan comfort food – all things fried, (fake) cheesy, and plant-based.

The space itself is open and full of natural light, though still clearly in the process of moving in. In addition to the menu items, there is a refrigerator case stocked full of beverages from lemonade to kombucha and a few items salads, like potato salad and bean and corn salad. If you’re looking for something lighter, definitely pick one of those up. The menu otherwise has no low-carb options. I was there with someone else, so we picked a budget ($40) and tried a few different things.

Our dinner consisted of jalapeño poppers, tacos, a western burger (we upgraded fries to bacon cheese fries), and a bean and corn salad from the fridge. Mac ‘n cheese is a popular menu item, and though it didn’t make our dinner, the employee taking our order very kindly offered us a sample.

Doomie’s makes their soy-based cheese substitute on-site, and it is featured in many dishes. It has the consistency of fairly thin melted cheese, and stays that way, uncongealed, regardless of temperature, more of a sauce than just cheese. In terms of flavor, the cheese tastes like typical dairy cheeses, though the more processed kind, like American or nacho sauce. It was nice and light on the mac’n’cheese sample, and the pasta had good integrity – not mushy or overcooked. In other dishes, like the poppers and fries, the cheese was a bit overwhelming.

The jalapeño poppers had a beautifully deep golden, crispy outside, full of the cheese substitute and pieces of jalapeño with a solid kick. The fries were smothered in the same cheese sauce, and topped with sizeable chunks of fake bacon, which had a smokey, salty flavor like real bacon, but a much more even and softer texture. The fries themselves were pretty lukewarm, but a comment to the staff prompted immediate apologies and a steaming replacement a few minutes later.

The burger consisted of that same cheese sauce and bacon, along with barbeque sauce, onion rings, and fresh, crisp lettuce and tomato. The patty was rather plain on its own but good in the burger; it served to add substance more than flavor. On the lighter side, the bean and corn salad had a very fresh, flavor, reminding me of pico de gallo with black beans and corn mixed in.
The tacos were probably my favorite, though probably not a full meal on their own. Coming two per order, the “meat” inside was made of mushroom and soy. I didn’t know that when I ate it, and was surprised when I did learn – I don’t like mushrooms and never have, even mixed into a dish – except, apparently, Doomie’s tacos. Even knowing they’re mushroom, I would still order them again – which says a lot.

Overall, the food was good and the staff was very friendly. Would I pass up a traditional burger for a Doomie’s one? Probably not, unless I was trying to be environmentally friendly. A nearby table with two young girls also attested to the kid-friendliness of the restaurant. Asking the parents if their family enjoyed the meal, I got two big smiles and thumbs up from the girls (who I also learned had never had real meat). Doomie’s is a fun, upbeat restaurant and that leaves you feeling full and satisfies that deep-fried, carb-filled craving with a fully plant-based menu.

Dorotea Crunk

www.culvercitysymphony.org

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