Watercourse

Stumptown Vegans Travel!

WaterCourse Foods
Overall Service Food Quality Atmosphere Vegan Options
8.5 8 8 8 10
Location: 837 E. 17th Ave, Denver, CO 80218
206 E. 13th Ave, Denver, CO 80203
Bakery: 214 E. 13th Ave, Denver, CO 80203
Hours: Mon – Thur 7am – 9pm, Fri 7am – 10pm,
Sat 8am – 10pm, Sun 8am – 9pm
Times Visited: 1

Watercourse is a well known vegetarian restaurant in Denver, Colorado. Every time I visit Denver, Watercourse is on my list of places to eat but I’ve never made it there. After having visited for the first time, Watercourse will not be forgotten on my future Denver journeys.

When entering Watercourse their signature sweet treats greet visitors, making it difficult to want to order “real food” with their alluring beauty. The restaurant is casually decorated with bright colors and clean lines. The concrete floors oppose the pressed, unpainted, metal ceiling tiles contrast in a pleasant way with the colorful room dividers. Watercourse offers both booth and table seating. I was happy to see that they have many large tables to be able to accommodate large groups. Since the wait can often be long, even after the lunch rush, you can enjoy the view of the kitchen, bar area, and those beautiful cakes, pies, and cookies while waiting.

Watercourse reminded this reviewer of Portland’s own Vita Cafe from the decor to the menu. The menu contained comfort foods seen in many other vegetarian restaurants like various vegan burgers, tofu wraps, faux chicken fried steak, and burritos. They also offer dishes I have not seen at many other vegan restaurants like Tempeh Scallopini and Setain Au Jus. All entrees are served with two side dishes ranging from various potatoes, salads, and grains. Everything on the menu can be made vegan. Breakfast is served all day and I hear their pancakes are the best.  The beverage menu is expansive with a beer and wine selection that appears to be selected by someone who enjoys good alcohol.

Despite the slow service, the waitstaff were very friendly and helped my dining partner and I select both the Cesear Wrap with Blackened Tofu and the Setain Au Jus.

The Cesear Wrap was crunchy with crisp lettuce and crunchy carbon crusted firm tofu (burnt.) The wrap was very light on the dressing. What I did taste of the dressing I really enjoyed and almost asked for a side of it to dip my wrap into. The dressing was creamy with a light flavor of dulse to give it a taste of the sea. I’d suggest adorning this wrap with the various Watercourse brand hot sauces at the table to bring out the flavors of the dressing.  My side of coleslaw was one of the best coleslaws I’ve had since being vegan. It was sweet with the tang of slaw that I remember in a traditional cabbage coleslaw. The other side was “side vegetables” which ended up being corn and peas. Since I do not eat peas I cannot comment on them, but the corn tasted as it was once frozen. I should have tried the potato salad.

The setain in the Setain Au Jus was light and fluffy, almost as if there was active yeast in the setain dough to add more air to the mixture. The pieces of setain were thinly sliced and  texture was perfect without the too-chewy texture that often comes from over kneading the dough. The French bread used for this sandwich was not as crusty as I would have expected to be served with au jus, but it did hold up when dipped. Au Jus dipping sauce is not for everyone. I know many people who have nightmares about dipping their bread into a liquid and eating a soggy sandwich. The Au Jus sauce was wonderfully flavored, possibly a mushroom based broth with just enough salt. The sides we choose for this dish were disappointing as the side salad came without dressing and the greens were a bit wilted.  The tomato soup was creamy, with a bit of sweetness, and no acidic taste that sometimes accompanies tomato soup.

Watercourse is also a bakery with many vegan options which they also serve at their restaurant. I ordered a Wheat-free Devils Cake with cherry. The chocolate cake was very dense but moist with a light flavor of cherry. The Peach Milkshake was tempting because they used Temptation ice cream but I found it disappointing because there were not chunks of peaches, but little pieces of ice or frost, not even frozen peaches. It wasn’t the happiest ending to a a great meal, but the Devils Cake made up for it.

Watercourse is on the higher end of an average lunch option at $9+ a meal, but it’s worth it to eat a great vegan mean while traveling. They have two restaurants and a bakery so you should find time to visit if you’re in town.

Cesear Wrap:

Setain Au Jus:

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6 responses to “Watercourse

  1. The cesear wrap looks more appealing to me. Every time I eat crusty bread, they tend to hurt the roof of my mouth but I guess that’s what the Au Jus is for.

    Thanks for the review!

  2. LOVE this place. I visited in August on my way up to Portland from South Florida. Sooo good. I really loved the milkshake I ordered…I totally forget what the flavor was but it was wicked awesome. As were the spicy buffalo tempeh strips. Messy and delicious. There’s a big park nearby that’s lovely if you take your food to go.

  3. My fiance and I use to live in Denver and Watercourse was heaven to us (as well as a hot dog place called Mustard’s Last Stand). Next time you go you have to PROMISE to go for breakfast! Their french toast, breakfast burrito (their gravy is famous) and peasant sandwich are all out of this world!

  4. I travel to Denver for work on occasion and usually end up eating yet another plate of roasted veggies while co-workers down enormous slabs of meat, but I have managed to get to Watercourse as well as their newer place, City O’City.

    I really enjoyed the tamales at Watercourse the time I ate there. Firm texture, nice cooked beans as a side. Went with a co-worker (a local) who really enjoyed the fresh, garden vegetable salad. She commented several times how it contained so many different vegetables, all very fresh and tasty. I didn’t check out the desserts that time.

    At City O’City I had one of the best vegan pizzas I’ve ever had! The “cheese” sauce on top came out so bubbly, browned and melty-looking I asked the wait-staff if I’d been given non-vegan by mistake! My boss went with me and she liked the pizza a lot as well as the Mediterranean platter we shared as an appetizer (I seem to recall a fig based tapenade being delicious). We shared their Ho-Ho cupcakes for dessert and those were awesome too. I spent the rest of the business trip in vegan food bliss, even through having yet another terrible salad at the meeting the next day!

    I’ve also tried the Mercury Cafe (which is omni) and had a passable curry dish there. Seem to recall thinking the tofu could have been better prepared, although the flame-roasted veggies in it were very good. The vibe in the place reminded me somewhat of spots I enjoy hanging out at in PDX, which is always nice to find when I’m on a business trip.

  5. Pingback: City O City | Stumptown Vegans·

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