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Vegetarian Decadence at the New Vedge Happy Hour

With newly opened Vedge (1221 Locust St.), husband-and-wife team Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby are proving that going meatless doesn’t have to mean going without pleasure. This week, the fine-dining restaurant launched their happy hour, running from 5–6 PM weekdays.

Vegetarian decadence exists in both food and drink form at this posh Wash West enclave, located in the centuries-old former home of French bistro Deux Cheminees. The long marble bar welcomes guests directly after stepping inside, and a lounge decked out with cushioned sofas, bookshelves and a fireplaces sits hidden off of one side.

An impressive beverage program has been put together by Jacoby, along with general manager Daniel Dinartino and bar manager Daniel Miller. Six taps and another half a dozen bottles offer both interesting domestic choices (Dark Horse Boffo Brown Ale, for example) and unique imported options, ranging from $5–$15 (for a 22-oz bomber). We sampled the Kelpie Seaweed Ale from Scottland’s Heather Brewing and found it extremely pleasant. Seaweed is used to mulch the grain fields that are mashed for this brew, which imparts a light, almost salty aftertaste (the beer does not taste fishy, fear not).

Specialty cocktails run $8–$12, and feature housemade bitters, syrups and juices. The liquors are local, organic and made without the use of animal products wherever possible. The Rob Ruiz takes Del Maguey mezcal (in place of the traditional Scotch), mixed with Vya sweet vermouth and those house cherry cola bitters. The Apple Cide Car sees New Jersey-made Laird’s apple brandy meet Cointreau, apple and maple smoked cinnamon.

Nearly 70 labels make up the wine list, which is full of unusual and hard-to-find vintages, starting around $32 and going up from there. A handful are available by the glass as well. With all of the drinks, it was important to select ones that would not overpower the vegetable-based fare coming from Landau’s kitchen, Jacoby told us.

That’s not to say the produce-only plates lacked any depth or soulful flavor. From hearty soups to multi-note crepes and tangy “veggie charcuterie,” the food at Vedge is worth sinking your teeth into. Happily for deal-seakers, the just-launched happy hour includes several options for bites.

For $4, after-work bar patrons can sample Korean tacos, portabello crostini or baked garbanzo dip to go along with their drink specials. Just $2 will score you a Yards Philly Pale Ale, a Boffo Brown or a shot of cider. At $5 your choices include the Apple Cide Car or a glass of sangria, sauvignon blanc or syrah. So whether you love bacon or refuse eat it, head over to the white-walled space to enjoy some inspired veggie fun.

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