I get plenty of e-mails from blog readers planning trips to Memphis or phone calls from out-of-town friends who'll be stopping through, and they always want to know the best place to find vegan food. My first suggestion is always Deja Vu Creole Soul Food & Vegetarian Restaurant. I would have blogged about the place much sooner, but they just opened a second location, and I wanted to check it out before doing a post.
Deja Vu has hands-down the largest selection of vegan options on any menu in the city. Although they do serve meat, the soul food joint offers about 15 vegan entrees and all the traditional Southern sides are vegan. You won't find any ham hocks in these collard greens and the candied yams are delightfully marshmallow-free. The vegan entrees range from soul food stuff like barbecue tofu cubes to pasta dishes and fried veggie-filled "egg" rolls. BTW, I love this place so much that my profile pic (the one on the right) was taken at Deja Vu over a plate of barbecue tofu.
This Portabella and Sundried Tomato Pasta is one of my faves:
The savory sundried tomatoes and meaty mushrooms give the dish a crazy-hearty flavor. It's a little difficult to stop eating when you're full because it's that freakin' good. I snapped this photo a few months ago at Deja Vu's downtown location.
Deja Vu's humble original location has been open for over a year on Florida Street in downtown Memphis. It's a teensy little place with only six or seven tables. Folks crowd in for lunch and typically have to wait for an available seat. But the second sprawling Hickory Hill location is HUGE with a private room for meetings. I believe the place used to house an O'Charley's. I finally had a chance to check out the new digs at our Food Awareness (the local vegetarian club) monthly meeting on Saturday.
I ordered this delicious Spinach and Mushroom Quesadilla:
It's a newer menu item and I was so surprised to see that it contains vegan cheese! It's especially difficult to find restaurant food in Memphis with vegan cheese. I'm not sure what they used, but it's a toss-up between Tofutti Mozzerella or Follow Your Heart Monterey Jack (don't you love playing "guess-the-vegan-cheese"?). Also stuffed inside the grilled tortilla are spinach, portabella mushrooms, and some Creole-style spices.
Almost everyone else at my table (Stephanie, Lindsey, and Jordan) ordered the Veggie Tacos:
These are stuffed with TVP and taco sauce and served with lettuce, tomato, and salsa. I was actually way too engrossed in my yummy quesadilla to ask how these were.
Other Deja Vu favorites include the Mock Chicken Salad Sandwich (which I first blogged about here), made with TVP and vegan mayo:
And I LOVE the curry tofu cubes! Not all the vegan entrees come with sides (the quesadilla does not), but when I get to choose sides, I typically spring for the grilled cabbage, navy beans, smothered okra, or green beans and carrots. I noticed on the new menu that they also offer fried plantains as a side dish too! When I have room for dessert (which is pretty much never), I opt for the vegan banana nut bread. But someday I plan to try the vegan chocolate cake with strawberry sauce.
Deja Vu Creole Soul Food & Vegetarian Restaurant has two locations: 936 S. Florida St. (901-942-1400) and 3557 Ridgeway Rd. (901-590-2221).