I’ve been to Chanhassen Dinner Theatres off and on over the years since I was in high school. Understanding that they’re cranking out hundreds of meals per night, my dining experiences have been hit or miss. My most recent trip was to see Newsies, and while the menu says that guests can inquire about gluten-free and vegan options, I mention my dietary needs when I reserve my tickets. You can also buy show-only tickets starting ten days before your show of choice if you prefer to opt out of the meal.
This time, providing a heads up paid off reasonably well. My server had done their research and knew exactly what they could and could not offer me. Last time, my server had to double check on things then accidentally said they had egg noodles when they meant rice noodles, but I had a hard time trusting them after that slip up. But my most recent server was confident and very direct about what I could have, which I greatly appreciate. For the bruschetta appetizer, it was a matter of swapping out the bread. Then, when I was told about veganizing the Caesar salad, it sounded like I wouldn’t be left with much, so I saved some of the tomato-olive tapenade from the appetizer just in case. That turned out to be a good call because here is my modified Caesar salad:
Yep, just lettuce with oil and vinegar. It honestly made me laugh since that’s exactly what I was expecting, and jokes abound in the vegan world about restaurants offering iceberg lettuce as a vegan option. In the end, I would have preferred they just skip the salad course all together if this is what I was getting. It’s not like the tapenade saved the dish or anything, let’s be real.
I’m being snarky, yes, but I really don’t fault them too much because courses three and four both impressed me. My choices were veggie stir fry or zucchini noodles (zoodles!) with veggies and marinara sauce. I’m a sucker for red sauce, so I went with the latter. Also, previous times I’ve experienced the stir fry, it’s been drowning in soy sauce. The zoodles and veggies came out right off the stovetop, which is more than I can say for the fried food my sister ordered. Hers had clearly been prepared hours earlier and been left sitting under a heat lamp. She actually said that next time she wants to order vegan so she can get a freshly made meal. So there’s your pro-tip of this post: making a special dietary request at CDT will guarantee you a fresh, hot meal.
The dessert menu includes a Dairy-free Chocolate Cake that my server assured me was vegan (meaning egg-free as well), which my sweet tooth approved of. Last time I had fresh fruit for dessert, which was fine…. but chocolate. The frosting was pretty sweet, but the cake itself wasn’t overly sweet so they went well together. What a great way to end the meal!
When all is said and done, I don’t know that I’d regularly pay for dinner at CDT, especially as there’s a Pizza Luce a mere fifteen minutes away. However, CDT treats their guests very well and I appreciate the meal that accompanies my press tickets. If you’ve been to CDT as a vegan, I’d love to hear your experience – feel free to leave a note in the comments!
Chanhassen Dinner Theatres
501 West 78th Street