Chef’s Picks: Vedge’s Rich Landau

Chef Rich Landau

When chef Rich Landau and his wife and partner Kate Jacoby opened Vedge restaurant in the elegant Center City space that long housed Deux Cheminees, vegans of the world rejoiced. Unlike their previous restaurant, Horizons, whose menu was dominated by meat impersonators like seitan and tofu, Vedge puts vegetables, in their vibrant glory, at the center of every ingenious plate. And it isn’t only vegans that are beating a path to this restaurant’s door. Cooking this flavorful and bold attracts anyone who likes to eat. Here, he fills us in on his current cooking obsessions, which meat-slinging restaurant serves a surprising vegan feast, and where to grab a mighty good meatless hotdog.

What is the best Spot for an afternoon bite:

South Street is the most vegetarian friendly commercial strip in the world in my opinion. I believe that you can get pretty much any ethnic food done veg style there, from falafel to sushi to a “chicken” club.  Today I think I we’ll go to Hot Diggity. They have veggie dogs and I’m going for the Bronx Bomber.

What is your favorite after-work watering hole? 

Tria, it’s right down the street and its always packed with a good crowd.

Your favorite undiscovered food gem?

I’m gonna have to go with the food court on top of the Hmart on Cheltenham ave. All the great Asian cuisines are represented and most are done remarkably well. The clientele is mostly Asian, a culture with long life spans and a tatse for very fresh and spicy food. It’s my happy place.

What is your “date night” spot?

We are old school when it comes to date night. we like white tablecloths and candlelight. Usually the food doesn’t matter as much as the ambiance since we are trying not to “work” when we are out on a date. But fortunately Savona in Gulph Mills has both the food and lots of class. It also gets us out of the city so there’s a certain “escape” feel to it as well.

What is your current food obsession?

Ever since our trip to Japan I am obsessed with broths and noodles. I learned over there that this is an art and anything you might think about noodles will change drastically with a trip to the east. We eat them for breakfast about three times a week and for lunch about three times a week. There is no better high than nailing the perfect vegetarian dashi or pho along with perfectly cooked noodles.

What’s an unexpected place that has a great vegetarian/vegan dish?  

Percy Street [a Texas barbecue restaurant]. They have excellent vegan chili, a great chopped salad and always offer three or four vegetarian sides.

  • Jay Donahue

    Great interview! Careful at Percy Street, though. I seem to recall in the past inquiring about the sides and being informed that they were cooked using animal ingredients (probably stock.)