Thursday, September 10, 2009

M Cafe de Chaya - Can vegan food be good??? (West Hollywood)

Entrance (Picture courtesy of

Upon leaving The Liquid Muse's cocktail event at BOA Steakhouse, H.C. of LA and OC Foodventures, Maya of Shopeatsleep, Esther of e*starLA, and yours truly decided we needed a post cocktail snack. What's better than some "healthy" food to finish off the night? At the experts' suggestion, we decided to get some grub at M Cafe de Chaya.

Tasty Kale with peanut sauce

kale with peanut dressing

H.C. went with a salad platter that included an order of kale with peanut dressing. As a fan of kale, I knew it's something that I'd enjoy. With the sweetness from the peanut based dressing topping the fresh kale, it is something that I'll definitely come back for again. Delicious, especially on a hot summer day.

Bi Bim Bap

Bi Bim Bap

The two lovely ladies decided on two items: A tasty lotus root and corn soup (not pictured) and the bi bim bap (shown above). Although I'm more familiar with corn soup being in a chowder form, the lotus root and corn soup was quite delicious, although it was slightly too sweet for my tastes. The bi bim bap however, I was not a fan of. I'm used to the dol sul (stone pot) bi bim bap served in various restaurants in Koreatown, the version at M Cafe was again too sweet for my taste buds. In the end, it was more of a vegetable rice with a sweet korean chili paste. I don't think I'd order this in the future.

Soy Mac 'N Cheese

Mac 'N Cheese

Finally, the dish I went with was my trusted Mac 'N Cheese, a dish even a 5 year old can make. The mac 'n cheese was the daily dinner special offered and was made with soy cheese, asparagus, and a faux bacon substance. Unlike the usual macaroni, a corkscrew pasta was used, and used fairly efficiently. Although I enjoyed my pasta dinner, there's just something "off" about it. It was more of a corkscrew pasta dish with asparagus than something that could be called Mac N Cheese. I'm used to something rich, creamy, with bread crumbs on top. Although I was satisfied with this version, it didn't totally hit the spot.

Overall, I'm glad I tried M Cafe de Chaya. Although there were some misses, I did enjoy a few of the dishes and I'm intrigued to try the bento box that H.C. mentioned to us that night. There are many restaurants in the West Hollywood area, and M Cafe is one of which I'll make a return visit to, but probably not drive specifically for. A great night and a great ending!

M Cafe de Chaya
7119 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 525-0588

M Cafe de Chaya in Los Angeles


joanh said...

haha. I had my doubts when I looked at the menu as well. I liked the corn soup, and enjoyed my grilled sea bass, though the tempura vegetables were just ok.

BananaWonder said...

Mmmmm the kale looks yummy =) I'd like this place 200%!

Ravenous Couple said...

no fried egg on bi bim bap? blasphemy we say.. :)

weezermonkey said...

Fake cheese is just wrong. Get the tuna burger next time. :)

Pandalicious said...

yea that don't look like mac n cheese.. but it does look good! too bad this place is sooo damn $$$$.

Diana said...

I like M Cafe de Chaya, but have never attempted to stray too far from my faves - the tempeh madras wrap, kale salad, and big macro. All delish! :)

I'm not sure I would trust mac 'n cheese there!

Gastronomer said...

Soy cheese?! Get outta here! My mouth feels fuzzy just thinking about it. Next time the munchies hit, go to the SGV ;-)!

Kung Food Panda said...

joanh: There were some hits and misses, but overall it was a fine experience.

BananaWonder: I could use some kale now too :)

RC: Ya, I wasn't a fan of that dish, I much prefer the Korean version :P

Weezermonkey: I need to try something else next time. Will def try the tuna burger! :D

Pandalicious: Ya, seriously, it's not cheap, but I guess eating healthy ain't cheap :(

Diana: It seems like the kale is a winner for everyone! I saw the wraps, but what is the big macro?

Cathy: Now you're talking ;P

mattatouille said...

pandas don't eat macrobiotic man...haha i'm not completely opposed to m cafe.

burumun said...

True that their stuff tend to be sweet, especially the veggies that came in my bento box. That kale in peanut sauce though, is something that I could crave from time to time.

theskinnyplate said...

This place is pretty good. I like their Big Macro and Kale side. Their Gado Gado salad is pretty good too. I just think it is a little pricey.

Kung Food Panda said...

Matt: Neither am I :)

GP: I'll say, and i'll agree, I'm interested in going back just for the kale.

theskinnyplate: slightly pricey, but I guess it goes with the area...

Aaron said...

I didn't know M Cafe was vegan. I thought it was just macrobiotic

Kung Food Panda said...

Aaron: I was told it's vegan, but I'm not 100% sure...