Vegan chef cooks up world of flavors at Lahla’s Kitchen in Richardson
The vegan universe of Dallas continues to grow, and the latest entry is extremely promising. Called Lahla’s plant kitchenIt’s a newcomer that opened in mid-April at Richardson, 100 S. Central Expwy., No. 35, in the former VegVana room near Half Price Books.
Lahla’s offers both vegetarian and vegan dishes with a cuisine that chef-founder Christian Rios describes as “comfort foods from all over the world”.
Rios started with the idea of building a food truck, but took the opportunity to build a full-size restaurant when the space became available.
His goal: to offer another vegan option in Dallas-Fort Worth.
“When I went vegan about six years ago, there weren’t that many vegan options in Dallas-Fort Worth, and that inspired me to do something,” he says. “Fortunately, things have changed. But I had experience in the restaurant industry, working in places like PF Chang’s and J. Alexander’s in Houston, where they work at very high levels, and saw the opportunity to share that experience in one Place to use my own. “
All of these experiences also helped him define his direction. “I was exposed to all kinds of foods and wanted to offer something of that variety,” he says. “I take on classic international dishes.”
His menu is very creative and includes Asian, Mexican, Mediterranean and Mediterranean influences. The dishes include:
Mediterranean platter with falafel, hummus, quinoa tabouli and tahini
Land-fried oyster mushroom with corn bread, garlic, coleslaw, mashed potatoes and pepper sauce
Indian sampler with dahl, chana masala, samosas, yellow jasmine rice, yogurt and naan bread
Thai mango salad with noodles, napa cabbage, red bell pepper, carrots, mint, coriander and Thai basil in a tamarind dressing with mashed peanuts
Southwestern Cobb Salad with Romaine, Coconut Bacon, Corn, Poblanos, Pepperjack Cheese, Achiote Tempeh and a Side of Avocado Ranch
Salad wrap filled with ground sack, carrots, jicama, rice sticks and sweet chili sauce
Flutes filled with jackfruit, garnished with cabbage and avocado salad
Causa: A tower of mashed potatoes with avocado and jackfruit salad
Arancini, the Italian-style fried rice balls
“The arancini were very popular,” he says. “I start making rice balls. The secret ingredient is mushrooms. They are rolled in panko crumbs and fried and served over homemade marinara sauce.”
He fills his salad wrap with his own ground “pork”, a combination of mushrooms, walnuts and cauliflower. “The texture is a really compelling replica of meat,” he says. It also appears in Cuban piccadillo, a tempting-sounding dish that combines ground beef with raisins and green and black olives and is served with rice, beans, and avocado.
He also makes some amazing looking desserts, including cookies and cakes like a German chocolate cake.
The restaurant, named after Rios’ grandmother, is open daily for lunch and dinner and not only offers another exciting offer, but also a personal refresh for Rios.
“After cooking school, I was so impressed by all the processes in the food industry and factory farming that my desire to continue in the industry was ruined,” he says.
“I tried going vegan and after four days I realized it was one of the best decisions of my life,” he says. “After I got my way, I discovered another world of flavors and textures that I love. The ability to do this without harm to anyone has revived my passion for cooking. It felt like I was doing it all over again to begin.”