The Veggielante has had it up to here with people bitching that St. Louis restaurants are vegetarian unfriendly. Sure, we'd like to see more restaurants offering more meatless dishes, but there are excellent choices out there if you take the trouble to look for them. We're not here to proselytize about greening up your diet. Our only motive is to spread the word about places where you can order good grub that ain't got no meat. To enhance your reading experience, we've settled on a handful of criteria we'll use to suss out a restaurant's vegetarian friendliness.
Destination: Sunset 44 Bistro (118 West Adams Avenue, Kirkwood; 314-965-6644)
Cuisine: "Regional American"
See Also: -Truffle Frites and Other Vegetarian Delights at Maplewood's The Crow's Nest -Hearty Vegetarian Italian Fare at Tavolo V in the Delmar Loop -Louisiana-fied Cajun and Creole Vegetarian Cuisine at The Kitchen Sink
Overview: Owner and head chef Bob Menendez has kept Sunset 44 Bistro open and running for more than twenty years, first in Sunset Hills and now in Kirkwood. His menu -- described as "regional American" -- covers everything from German, French and Asian-inspired foods. He credits his long-running success to his restaurant's ever-evolving cuisine. Lucky for Gut Check, this includes a slew of vegetarian-friendly items, and even an upcoming vegan night.
Highlights: Sunset 44's avocado tacos are simply delicious. Three pieces of tempura-fried avocado sit inside both corn and flour tortillas, garnished with cabbage. This Asian-Mexican hybrid dish goes for $14, and it's vegan friendly to boot.
The restaurant's mushroom quesadilla ($13) will surely satiate any hearty vegetarian diet. In addition to wild mushrooms, the quesadilla is packed with caramelized onions and cheddar cheese, and it comes with a side of your choice. (Always an admirer of sweet-potato fries, that was our selection. Other sides include vinegar slaw and pommes frites.)
On Thursday, April 25, Sunset 44 Bistro partners with STL VegGirl to host a special vegan dinner event, "Planted in Spring," at 6 p.m. The six-course menu includes amuse-bouche, choice of soup, salad Nicoise, grilled Napoleon, wild mushroom and white truffle tamale and vegan truffles. The dinner costs $50 per guest, inclusive of tax and tip. For information on Sunset 44's vegan-friendly dinner, check out the events page of its website.