R: There is no doubt Los Angeles has become a prominent center for outstanding cuisine and innovative chefs. What many may not realize is that Los Angeles is also one of the hottest centers in the country for delicious and inventive vegan dining. Now we can proudly add By Chloe to the growing list of great places for us cool vegans to dine.
Z: We love Chef Chloe Coscarelli's contribution to our hip vegan dining scene and think you will, too. After wowing the judges and winning first prize in TV's Food Network Cupcake Wars with her memorable vegan cupcake, she decided to open her By Chloe restaurant in New York in 2015. Angelenos were delighted when she set up her fast casual eatery linked to 365 by Whole Foods Market in Los Angeles in 2016.
R: Venture over to the shopping center on Glendale Boulevard just south of Fletcher Drive in Silver Lake for a bite of Chef Chloe's tasty casual eats. It's one of the coolest little spots you could desire for foods that are fun to eat and make you want to lick your fingers.
Z: It's the sort of place where it would be totally OK to catch the drips from your thick and juicy burger or snap up the crumbs on the table from your outrageously delicious cookie.
R: We're really not messy eaters, but the relaxed ambience just simply invites one to feel at home where it's unlikely you'd eat French fries with a fork. The long, narrow restaurant space was planned ingeniously, providing two distinct dining areas with the order counter in-between.
Z: A large menu board hangs above the brightly lit order counter where the friendly staff is happy to provide menu details and deliver food to the tables. On the left wall are the daily specials, but that's not as exciting as the prominent and very tantalizing dessert display to the right of the counter.
R: On our first visit we ordered the Quinoa Taco Salad, The Guac Burger, and Air-fried Sweet Potato Fries and were given a small plastic disc to put on our unique little table for two. Colorful, striped banquettes lined the wall with comfortable black, wire chairs providing seating on the opposite side of the table.
Z: When the little disc buzzed we brought it to the counter and collected our dinner. A moment later a server brought us a complementary dish of Mac 'n Cheese. Apparently, a customer changed his mind, and we became the fortunate recipients of this beautiful side dish because "it would be a shame to see this go to waste."
R: Aromatic sable brown slices of shiitake mushroom bacon lay atop the pasta shells that were bathed in an ultra-creamy sweet potato-cashew cheese sauce. I've eaten plenty of mac n' cheese versions, but have to admit this one has some very special touches and an irresistible richness I've not encountered. But, that's not all. There was a generous sprinkle of vegan Parmesan to enhance the dish further -- I could have eaten two more bowls, but didn't. Many mac n' cheese recipes can be a bit skimpy on the cheese, making the dish a bit dry, but this one sang a delightful saucy tune!
Z: The Quinoa Taco Salad was a bowl of visual delight egotistically flaunting its bright colors. Who could resist a well-dressed presentation of avocado chunks, chopped tomatoes, bits of seitan chorizo, black beans, and tortilla strips artistically drizzled with bright white crema! Hidden beneath these cheery items was steamed quinoa partnered with bits of purple onion, red bell peppers, and white corn. The spicy chorizo added the perfect touch to a fabulous salad.
R: I can definitely recommend the Guac Burger served in a white paper bag emblazoned with By Chloe food illustrations. It's a delicious, messy indulgence and conveniently cut into fourths. Sandwiched between a very plump whole-grain bun is a patty made of black beans, quinoa, and sweet potatoes. Topping the patty are lettuce, corn salsa, onions, and plenty of creamy guac and chipotle aioli. The heaping cup of Air-fried Sweet Potato Fries was the perfect burger mate--don't order a burger without them!
Z: We loved the colorful and very mod décor--no bare walls here. Even the pressed wood floors are an appealing two-tone stripe design. It can a bit noisy, but the casual vibe perfectly fits the food--and it's unlikely you'll be expecting a hushed intimate dining experience.
R: I found it comforting to know that all the utensils and serving pieces were compostable--a good move toward caring for our Earth. The very unique feature of this eatery is that one end opens into the 365 by Whole Foods Market where you'll find yourself strolling the aisles of the large produce section.
Z: On our second visit we brought our friends David and Cynthia for a fun get-together over tasty eats like Mac n' Cheese, Butternut Squash Soup, Pesto Meatball Sandwich, Kale Caesar Salad, Spicy Thai Salad, and Whiskey BBQ Sandwich. We feasted well and shared tidbits of everything. I would order that Butternut Squash Soup again--just for the Maple Croutons!
R: If you love portobellos, try the Whiskey BBQ Sandwich packed with thin slices of seitan, caramelized onions, and smoky sauce.
Z: Salad lover that I am, I would retreat back to the Kale Caesar Salad on a return visit because it has some of my favorite foods like shiitake bacon, chunks of avocado, cherry tomatoes, maple flavored croutons, lots of greens, and a well-seasoned Caesar dressing.
R: Cynthia loved her Spicy Thai Salad, but the topper was when David strayed over to the dessert counter and came back with a Cinnamon Espresso Cookie with Chocolate Chips! What a cookie! It was almost as big as David's head! It's impressively thin and clearly about 7 or 8 inches in diameter. The top is sprinkled with sugar crystals and generously dotted with chocolate chips. It was the perfect cookie for sharing and easily broke into pieces.
Z: For those wanting to shun the bun and eat a little lighter, any of the sandwich fillings can be served over a hearty salad. The portions are generous and prices are very reasonable. Salads are $9.59 to $10.95, Burgers and Sandwiches $8.95 to $12.50, Fries and Sides $3.95 to $5.95, Pasta $12.50, Brunch items $3.95 to $9.95.
R: Parking is easy with plenty of spaces in this large shopping center. By Chloe is now on our go-to list of fun eateries--bet it will be yours, too!
Reviewed December 2016