V is for Variety Street Food

I've been to my share of vegan spots; from the inconspicuous whole in the wall with that surprising deliciousness, to places with the highly over-priced, unsatisfying butternut squash garnished with the inedible pumpkin seeds on top to choke on. This next place is about the size of bigger whole in the wall, they don't serve pumpkin seeds, and if your palate is sophisticated enough, then you might just take up residency there. 

At 126 S 19th Street, V Street is located in my home city of Philadelphia. Out of towners often refer to the city as "the home of brotherly love", reference the Rocky statue, or ask me about Will Smith. To natives, these aren't the trademarks of the city. This is a city of food; from crystal champagne flutes to greasy aluminum foil, this city's gotcha covered. In the last ten years,especially, the city's made its bones as a food haven; especially for health conscious and strange vegans like me. 

The day was perfection. The Caribbean Festival was going on and we looked forward to loading up on some delectables, then walking and dancing off the calories to the sound of steel drums at the pier. We entered V Street. It was a casual place, which is how I like it. The bar presented in the front and the clean lined design extended about 50 ft to the kitchen. The smell made me wanna order everything. The hostess was cool, not overly friendly, but attentive. We were offered our of seats, the place only had about 6 to 8 people dinning and a few others hunkered down at the bar. The seats were tight, but I took it as a gesture of intimacy.

V Street is a clean, but not spotless establishment. No worries, you'll still eat there and will come again. It hits the mark as far as sanitation is concerned. Our server was pleasant, knew the menu, and tended to our needs. Her colleagues were more than willing to assist her in service to us. Made for a good dining experience.

This place emphasizes taking street food, putting it on a plate, and tricking you into thinking its a high end hideaway...but it's just street food, right? Here's how the joint graded.
    Market Greens with five spice tofu, turnip XO and long hots - I figured we get this out of the way immediately. This dish was delicious. Delicious. The green's were cooked to a tenderous' perfection; that means they were banging. I'm not a big five spice dude, but the flavor was subtle and it worked until...wait. wait a minute...Is that a hair I see in my ceramic? Indeed it was. Terrible start. Despite the 'f' up, the waitress was sincerely apologetic and shocked. Might of been good acting, but that worked too. She replaced the dish as well as added a complimentary smokey broccoli to our table. Report: I think the chef is bald, so it wasn't his fault, but the faux pas definitely affects the overall grade. B-- (yes, that's 2 minus signs)

    Korean Fried Tempeh Tacos - radish kimchee, grilled tomato, and sriracha thousand island topped on a bed of tempeh and soft taco shells. I was looking for the jerk seitan tacos. Right place. Wrong night. I wasn't disappointed with what I settled on. All fresh ingredients. The radish and sriracha gave it the kick in the ass it needed. The soft tortilla was the precise cool for this spicy variety. Seitan can masticate like play-doo, but this was tendor and on point. Report: B

    Peruvian Fries - aji amarillo sauce/paste, cilantro, dried olive, and peanuts over thick cut deep fried potato wedges. Not the image of health, but I didn't care and neither will you when you try it. Aji amarillo is a type of chilli pepper found in S. America. The sauce isn't real hot and if you want you can close your eyes and imagine it's cheese. It's far from it though. The flavor of this street food is unique. The fries were hot, crisp on the external and moist and mashed under the top layer. The pics of this starter are in abundance. It's a favorite of many, including me. Report: For a french fry, there's nothing French or American about it. Outstanding. B+

    Langos - some sort of strange spin on a pizza with smoked chioggia beets, dill, and sauerkraut remoulade. You don't know what this taste like. You couldn't possibly. The ingredients read like a list of things only a deranged pregnant woman would eat together. The dough had a naan-like texture, but yet it was maad puffy and crispy on the underbelly. Report: I dislike sauerkraut. I only respect the nutritional value of beets. Dill is not a food...This shit's delicious. The best surprise of the meal. A

    Dan Dan Noodles - 5 spice mushrooms, zucchini, and red Chile-sesame sauce served over udon noodles in a light broth. This dish is in my wheel house. Udon noodles are tops and the way they were prepared in this dish is consistent with that opinion; firm, not starchy, and still soft like noodles are suppose to be. The broth was light; however the flavors from the other ingredients gave it great depth. The mushrooms weren't overpowering and the spice gave the dish a warm, hardy experience. Report: Good eat. The menu changes a lot but this seems to last; and with good reason. B

    Smokey Broccoli - Just as it reads, this was a smokey bowl of cruciferous vegetables, salty, in a good way, with a rich sauce. I've yet to see this dish on the menu. I think it was something made on the fly to appease our dis-ease with the hair debacle. Revenge is best served cold, but not broccoli; at least not this plate. It was designed as a cold dish, which might have been acceptable, but the 'smoke' flavor showed the heavy hands of the chef on this one. Way too much liquid smoke. If you're going to use it, don't let me detect it soo distinctly. Report: I'm critical. I'm a critique, but it was interesting at the least. C+ 

    Waffle - ganache, banana, miso caramel, sriracha peanuts over a bump of soft serve. The waffle was perfect; flaky, crispy, moist, and a few other adjectives. It was NOT a sweet batter, which with just the right amount of ganache and caramel, gave this dessert the perfect sugar distribution. just enough everywhere without rotting your teeth. Report: A refreshing desert. Sweet. No overkill. A-
      See V Street's Report Card Below
      Place Location B Mid Center City. Safe, but not the easiest to find for non-locals
      Parking C Downtown parking, need I say more?
      Restaurant Atmosphere B Very comfortable spot. Casual 
      Cleanliness B Clean and only the smell of good food
      People Service (Hostess, wait time, etc) B  
      Waiter/Waitress B  
      Fellow Customers B  
      Food Presentation B+  
      Originality A-  
      Taste A-  
      Nutrition/Ingredients B All vegan, but some soy and wheat gluten
      Price Appetizer/Starters Price Range B+ Nothing over $10.00
      Entrees Price Range A Nothing over $12.00
      Drink Prices B- Good but not great

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