Alrighty, so bear with me. This ones a little funky. So Jose and I have a tradition of exploring a new Austin restaurant every week. He tends to find these great classic restaurants while I prefer to try things that are more out of the box. So in true me fashion I chose Casa de Luz. Now keep in mind, I was warned when looking at there menu that they only serve vegan dishes, BUT it also said that all their dishes were gluten free and that was just too hard to resist.
So I pushed Jose to try it (obviously not mentioning that it was vegan food). They have a unique system where you pay the set price of $12 up front and then everyone gets the same dish for the day. They have three separate menus for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and pride themselves on serving vegan and gluten-free meals. The dishes are prepared by a rotating list of people and you receive a soup, salad, tea, and main course.
Here's what we ordered:
Miso with Ginger & Mixed Veggies
Garden Salad with Almond, Sunflower Seed, Pecan, Cilantro & Parsley Dressing
Kidney Beans with Cilantro
Brown Rice topped with Sunflower Seed Pesto
Corn Gorditas stuffed with Mixed Veggies, Guacamole, & Pickled Cabbage
Blanched Greens with Walnut, Pecan, Dill & Garlic Sauce
Pickled Beets & Red Cabbage
Okay so the salad was pretty good but the soup was extremely bland. (Why does that seem to be a theme with vegan food? You'd think you'd punch up the spices to compensate for the lack of flavors coming from meat, fat, etc.). To make matters worse, there was no salt on the table just a canister of a mix of sesame and sunflower seeds. These did not help add flavor. I tried.
The main course had some pretty good parts though. The rice, beans, beets/ cabbage, and greens when mixed together tasted pretty good. The sauce that they put on top of the greens was delicious! It's some sort of mix of ground up nuts that ends up turning creamy despite not adding milk or soy. It was really good and something I'm trying to figure out how to replicate for a good sauce. The gordita was Jose's favorite part of the dish and while it had a unique flavor, at least it was flavor.
They're only in the Austin area and have an ever changing daily MENU.
Overall, I really wanted to like this place since it was so unique but the food just didn't live up the potential. It looked pretty but if there was maybe even just a salt shaker on the table, it would've been a different story. I would be curious to see though if there's a large change in flavors between their breakfast and lunch/ dinner menus. If you're planning on trying it out, my biggest piece of advice is look up the menu ahead of time and bring some spices from home to add your own flavor. On a positive, all those veggies leave you feeling super healthy!
Casa de Luz - Austin
Mon.-Sun. 7am - 8:30pm
1701 Toomey Road
Austin, TX 78704