Friday, June 24, 2011

A Review Of Gracias Madre, A Vegan Restaurant In San Francisco

Gracias Madre serves organic, vegan, non-GMO Mexican Cuisine in the Mission District of San Francisco

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Healthy Vegan can also mean Tasty!
The very sound of "healthy vegan" would make most people run the other way, but the same team that brought us yummy raw food at Cafe Gratitude, now offers a selection of very delicious vegan Mexican cuisine at their restaurant, Gracias Madre
The two words I would use to describe their food are "Flavorful" and "Hearty". Most of the dishes we tried had a spicy and intensely flavorful sauce that really made the dish. "Hearty" also means filling so be careful not to order too much. Make sure you leave some room for their beautiful desserts!

The Menu
Most vegans have a difficult time going to a traditional Mexican restaurant. Once you take away the meat and the cheese, there's not much left to eat! But this menu is a vegan's dream come true! You can check out their entire menu and see that they have quite a nice selection of items. Here are some of the things we tried:
Guacamole con Tortillas
We started the meal by sharing an order of guacamole. It tasted a lot like ours with cilantro, lime and onion, and was served with 4 warm handmade tortillas.  
Quesadillas de Camote
My absolute favorite thing on the menu was undoubtedly the quesadilla! A tortilla was filled with sweet potato and caramelized onions and covered with a wonderful nacho cheese sauce and pumpkin seed salsa. Nice spice to it and just delicious! Unfortunately I ate the entire dish before I decided to review the restaurant so I didn't get a picture of it. But take my word for it, it was amazing!
This homemade pastry shell was filled with poblano chiles, onions and mushrooms, served on mole and topped with cashew cream. It had a nice consistency and the mole had just the right heat.

Empanada on a bed of mole

Enchiladas con Mole
Although the ingredients for this dish were wonderful (mushrooms, a spicy and flavorful mole sauce, etc.), the manner in which they served it was not. All the ingredients were pilled up on top of several thick tortillas which made it very difficult to eat. I would have preferred that they rolled them up the way enchiladas are usually served. Actually, by the time I got to this dish, I was a little tired of eating tortillas. Next time I will ask them to put the mushrooms and delicious mole sauce on top of brown rice. I think that would be great! This dish came with greens and black beans.

Enchiladas con Mole

My husband and nephew had nopales, a dish that featured cactus. I believe this is a seasonal dish. They both said "it was very enjoyable but not memorable".

Papas al Horno
My daughter ordered this dish. It was a big, generous pile of roasted potatoes topped with a cashew nacho cheese. Although I thought this dish was quite good (the potatoes were perfectly roasted in garlic and oil and the cashew cheese had a lovely, spicy flavor), it was a better dish to share than to have as a main course. How many potatoes can you eat?

Papas al Horno - roasted potatoes with cashew nacho cheese

A Few Sides
We also order a side of greens which were the same as what was served with the enchiladas. They were perfectly cooked and the crunch of the pumpkin seeds added a delightful dimension. But the best side was a baked cauliflower dish that had a crispy topping. Unfortunately the picture I took of that dish came out a bit fuzzy but I think that was one of the best dishes we ordered!

A side of greens topped with toasted pumpkin seeds

I'll Be Back!
All in all, I loved the restaurant and will definitely return to Gracias Madre! Next time I'll come for dinner instead of lunch and try one of their margaritas and definitely leave some room for dessert! If you're in San Francisco, you should definitely give it a try!


Debra said...

This restaurant is awesome!! I loved reading the review and looking at what is on the menu. Nice job!

Dr. Joanne L. Mumola Williams said...