Stumptown Vegans Travel!
|Overall||Service||Food Quality||Atmosphere||Vegan Options|
|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.