As y’all probably have guessed, I’m a meat-eater. As a die-hard carnivore, I doubt I could ever subscribe to the vegan diet, there would be far too many foods I would miss too damn much. That being said, I’m certainly not opposed to eating vegan (or even raw) for a meal. That’s probably why I suggested Seed when I met my good friend Jeanne for lunch a few months back.
Although Seed replaced one of my favorite lunch spots less than six months ago, I couldn’t help but be intrigued by a menu where all of the dishes were either vegan or raw, and sometimes both! We arrived at the restaurant at around 1pm thinking we’d avoid the main rush, but the place was still jumpin’ and we were lucky to score a two-top before a large queue formed at the front door.
Although it was difficult to decide, Jeanne and I finally placed an order and looked around while we waited and waited and waited, till the usual jokes arose — “guess the chef had to kill the cow first” — but in this case we were baffled. Everything we ordered was raw, uncooked, so what the heck was taking so long? As we glanced around, we realized that no one else was eating either. Everyone was just sitting around, sipping their drinks (we got a lovely iced mint tea, by the way) and conversing like there was absolutely nothing amiss.
Now, I was willing to give them a little leeway, seeing as they hadn’t been open very long and were likely working out some kinks. But a 45 minute wait for raw food? That’s a pretty big kink. Jeanne and I cheered when they finally brought out our appetizer, a Beet Carpaccio, that was visually stunning. Both red and gold beets were thinly sliced and served with red onions, capers and crushed pistachios all drizzled with grape seed oil. Although the flavors were fresh and bright, the tough texture of the raw beets sort of threw Jeanne and I for a loop. They were sliced pretty thin, but not thin enough to make this an appetizer that was easy to eat. Maybe if they cooked them a bit?
Our entrees arrived in a somewhat timely manner (the waitress forgot about mine), and these were the highlight of the meal. Jeanne opted for the Seed Club Sandwich which featured hummus, avocado, tomato, sprouts and garlic aioli on toasted, whole grain bread. She enjoyed it thoroughly, which was obvious through the groans of delight that she uttered while chewing, and it presented quite well. It was the kind of sandwich that is perfect for a healthy eating ad, “delicious AND good for you!”
I thought my entree was the star of the show, a vegetable spaghetti with spiralized veggie noodles, avocado pesto, puttanesca sauce and shaved coconut to garnish. The flavor was outstanding! I had difficulty believing that my meal was completely vegan, and the fact that it was completely raw to boot was staggering. The puttanesca was so bright and rich, with tomatoes, olive oil, capers and garlic, and the noodles were cool and light, completely absorbing the flavorful sauce. I was completely blown away and I assure you, I could devour that dish daily.
We finished off the meal with a little dessert, a raw mint ice cream composed mostly of frozen banana. It was not too sweet and super-minty which worked on a hot summer day, but it certainly failed to give regular ice cream a run for its money. All in all, if you’re a vegan or vegetarian in New Orleans, Seed is your home away from home. If you’re not, it’s still pretty darn good, but I suggest exploring the menu to find your favorite dish. Seed’s biggest fault? I mean, aside from a deplorable wait (that I hope had been rectified since my visit)? I walked out still feeling hungry. Time to seek out a steak.
*Seed closed and reopened in January 2020 under new ownership.