It wasn’t all that long ago that Sacramento was a veritable desert when it came to vegan dining. Back then, avoiding animal products meant settling for a ho-hum salad or ordering a modified vegetarian dish relegated to a far corner of the menu. Alas, times have changed. New places like Pure Soul and Babes Ice Cream & Donuts are serving up tasty, interesting fare to loud-and-proud vegans. And there are more and more veggie-forward options popping up all over the grid.
Take downtown’s Vegan Deadly Sins, which shares a retail space (but not a kitchen) with the boba shop E Tea. Co-owner Wendy Poon says she and her family opened the spot last July upon witnessing the rise in popularity of vegan and vegetarian restaurants. “We wanted to give people in Sacramento another place to choose from,” says the veteran restaurateur.
The menu at Vegan Deadly Sins reads like your corner Chinese restaurant: chicken chow mein, Mongolian beef, ham fried rice. The difference is that the meats served here are soy-based imposters that taste pretty darn close to the real thing. This means you can still share takeout with your carnivore friends without any hard feelings.
Fake meats aside, Vegan Deadly Sins shines brightest when it puts vegetables front and center. One of the star dishes combines mushrooms, perfectly tender green beans and slender spears of pumpkin in an earthy sauce. Another entrée featuring eggplant and fried tofu benefits from a generous scattering of fresh basil leaves, which lend an appealing herbal note to a dish that is a vegetable lover’s version of comfort food.
Poon says she set out to prove to diners that eating vegan isn’t a sacrifice. “People might think vegan food is really bland, but our food has a lot of flavor to it.” And with the arrival of Vegan Deadly Sins, it’s as accessible as ever.
900 15th St.; (916) 389-0669