Almost six months after opening his zero-waste dining concept Wolf, chef Marcel Vigneron has opened fast-casual concept Beefsteak in the adjacent space on Melrose Avenue. Beefsteak, to be clear, refers to the tomato rather than a steak of beef, as the small eatery leans toward a plant-based menu. Name aside, Beefsteak is not immune to further confusion as the seemingly vegan menu comes with the option of adding meat. And though this could be what draws criticism from vegans, it is also what makes Beefsteak very appealing.
The menu, which consists of salads, bowls, wraps and snacks, offers protein additions such as poached eggs, Petaluma chicken breast, Korean-style short ribs, shrimp and cotija cheese. In grain bowls such as the K-Town, a choice of quinoa or rice (or both) with kimchi, broccoli, sesame seed, toasted seaweed, scallion, adzuki, ginger and gochujang dressing is appropriately completed with the addition of poached egg, avocado and short rib.
Ideally it would just come this way, but alas Beefsteak aims to please everyone. And this means having basic ingredients as add-ons. This also makes it more expensive. The aforementioned grain bowl with added “proteins” totals more than $20. Add a juice to that and you’re looking at a $30+ lunch. But the portions are big and ingredients (according to the website) are sourced locally from “socially conscious purveyors.” Moreover, the food seems very healthy, in a good, crave-able way.
The beverage program at Beefsteak is perhaps its most noteworthy aspect. A long list of fresh juices and smoothies is available to help diners reach optimum health. But Beefsteak isn't just meant to be a post-workout health-food shack. The eatery stays open until 9 p.m. for dinner and the juice bar includes a long list of boozy options, such as the Mexi-Melon, with tequila, watermelon, jalapeño and lime, and the Flower Power, with vodka, hibiscus, lemon and agave, thus allowing the health-conscious to get tipsy, too.
The laid-back interior and small outdoor patio create the feel of a VIP Coachella lounge with hanging hammocks, succulent plants, rustic wood tables and Southwestern-inspired rugs and pillows. The crowd matches the decor; hip, attractive and young. Many of them seem to know Vigneron personally. He comes out from the kitchen to chat and hug. The influx of Vigneron's “friends and family” could be because the restaurant is brand new. But regardless, the warm, neighborhood juice bar vibe, and the feeling of knowing you consumed something good for you, might make you wish Beefsteak was in your neighborhood.
7661 Melrose Ave., Fairfax; (323) 424-7443, beefsteakveg.com.