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Fake Chicken at Chain Restaurants: Upcoming Trend?
"Chicken" rick bowl | Photo by Quarrygirl
We've seen Sicily Italian Kitchen do this, now we're hearing that another chain of restaurants is trying it as well. Yard House recently introduced vegan chicken for 25 of their dishes at their Irvine location.
“We first needed to find a meat alternative that didn’t compromise taste or quality; we’re thrilled that gardein passed every taste test with flying colors,” Carlito Jocson, executive chef and partner of Yard House, told the OC Register's Fast Food Maven blog. “The texture of gardein is very similar to beef or chicken and no matter what dish we tried to emulate using gardein, even our own culinary team had a difficult time differentiating the dishes made with gardein.”
Register writer Stefani Peterson tired it herself and said "not to sound cliche, but it did taste just like chicken."
While it's welcome news to some vegetarians, it might not be for all. Wait staff has a spiel they tell customers that will probably be phased out. According to the vegan bloggers at Quarrygirl, employees are warning customers that while the product comes into the restaurant's doors as vegan, it's cooked and comes in contact with meat, which definitely defeats the purpose for all vegans, but many vegetarians, too.
That said, Quarrygirl is hopeful that Yard House will continue to improve and noted their A+ customer service by cooking some of the dishes for them in separate pans to keep them vegan.
The fake chicken dishes are only available at the Irvine location, so don't show up at the LA Live one expecting it. Interestingly enough, The Veggie Grill got started in Irvine, which has us asking another question: what's with Irvine and vegetarians?
Besides that, this makes us curious if there's more to come down the line. McDonald's and Burger King both tried doing the veggie burger thing, but that's history. Still, Los Angeles is one city where the vegetarian and vegan options are aplenty.