Dark Horse Bar & Eatery recently opened in the Lowertown neighborhood of St Paul. Lucky for me, my friend Sal lives nearby because I had not heard of it, so we arranged a double date. Anytime a new place opens that is vegan-friendly, it’s a pretty big deal so I love it when someone else can give me the scoop. Sal said that the menu has been a little different each time she’s gone in, and the veg options keep expanding.
We decided to kick off the meal by sharing three appetizers among the four of us: Brussels sprouts, Yukon Jojos, and Turkish fig balls. The Brussels sprouts come with a side of kimchi relish that was not vegan at the time, unfortunately, but they were delicious on their own. Our server said they were in the process of making their own kimchi, and once it was ready then the relish would be vegan (traditional kimchi is made with fish sauce). The Yukon Jojos come with a side of ranch, so just leave that off to make it vegan, and eat them plain or with ketchup instead. They’re crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, and the herbs sprinkled on top provide plenty of additional flavor.
Now about those fig balls… They look like falafels so I think that threw me off, even though I’ve eaten plenty of figs in my time. The dish is a combination of sweet and savory, and unfortunately none of us were that into it. I’m happy to stick with the Yukon Jojos and Brussels sprouts, especially once the kimchi is ready!
Andrew and I both ordered the Red Dragon Rice Bowl, pictured at the top of the post. It’s beautiful, right? Well, it tastes pretty amazing, too. It’s a yellow coconut curry, but the coconut isn’t overpowering (I’m not a fan of coconut, so this is important to me!), and the veggies add so much fresh flavor to the dish. And between the soft rice and crunchy veggies, the texture combination is also pretty perfect. Chris ordered the Posole which turned out to be too spicy of a soup, so he ended up getting the Red Dragon Rice bowl, too.
Sal loves the Grilled Eggplant and Mushroom Sandwich that comes on fresh, soft, wonderful pita bread. Dark Horse also offers a Kale Quinoa and a Corona Bean Salad that both sound great. They include symbols for items that can be prepared vegan or are vegan, gluten free items, and items that contain nuts. Our server was incredible and knew the menu so well, which was helpful. I honestly wish more servers were like her.
Once we finished off our entrees, she pointed us in the direction of the vegan dessert option: the Sweet Hummus Trio. It’s also gluten free and includes chocolate chip cookie dough, brownie batter, and carrot cake batter with crisp, sugary plantain chips. The hummus has a chickpea base, and I so wish the brownie batter had more of a chocolate flavor. However, the carrot cake is awesome and has just a little bit of tartness to balance out the sweetness of the chips. Chris preferred the chocolate chip cookie dough, so it ended up being the perfect dish to share.
After all was said and done, we spent a wonderful three hours at Dark Horse and really enjoyed the dark and cozy atmosphere. We had some exciting conversation about expanding the Everyone Vegan MeetUp group that Chris and I run by adding more restaurant outreach to our mission. A lot of our MeetUps are dineouts, after all, so encouraging restaurants to offer and mark more vegan options goes well with what we’re already doing. Feel free to check us out on Facebook, twitter and Instagram, too!
If you decide to try out Dark Horse, please let me know what you think!
Dark Horse Bar & Eatery
250 East 7th Street
St. Paul, MN
Purchases through Local Deals help support One Girl, Two Cities.