A funny thing happened at a local seafood restaurant. They launched an additional, entirely vegan menu.
English Dockside West, the seafood eatery with Southern style in Old Colorado City, recently added vegan options because, according to my server, customers were requesting it, and one of the owners eats vegan. Good news all around for area plant-based diners.
I confess that though English Dockside is right down the street from me, I never even considered popping in. As a long-time vegan, I know seafood restaurants rarely have plant-based options, and I assumed there would be a discernable fishy odor. While the latter was true the first time I visited, it was no longer obvious in a recent visit, I was pleased to note during the first round of wine. We needed that first round of drinks to take the time needed to pore over the extensive plant-sourced menu.
The main dishes are filled with whole food ingredients, compared with the starters heavily focused on vegan meats (not house made). And at a restaurant with a large bar with televisions for sports and sitcoms, these make for fun bar food orders.
Asked for an appetizer recommendation, our server insisted on the beefless tips with seasoned fries ($9) "for the sauce alone." She was right. While the vegan beef is a run-of-the-mill product available at grocers, the house-made red sauce makes the plate a sight to behold. The spices in the seasoned fries are a nice pairing with the tangy sauce.
The entrée prices fall in line with the nonvegan menu, though the plant-based fare is slightly less. The vegan mains represent the rainbow: Vegan White, Vegan Red, Vegan Green and Vegan Yellow. Each features ingredients or flavor profiles that correspond to the color.
The Vegan White ($18) is all about coconut. Fresh vegetables are sautéed in coconut oil and served over a hearty bed of wild rice and topped with coconut cream sauce. Just the right amount of rich, it's a surprisingly light dish. The Vegan Red ($18) is a classic pasta, but it's gluten-free. The heavy quinoa spirals hold up the garlicky grilled squash and zippy tomato sauce. We couldn't resist adding the vegan meatballs ($3) to turn this into a nearly traditional dish. I've had my share of vegan meatballs over the years, and these lightly crisp nuggets delivered. The pasta is served with discs of fried spelt bread that I'd order again at the bar with beer.
Now about that $18 price tag: Two diners who have no problem licking their plates clean walked out with enough food for an entire second meal each. The portions are substantial.
From the bar, you'll find beer ($4.50 to $5.50) and cocktails ($6 to $12.50). Wine is available by the glass ($8 to $16) and bottle ($30 to $75) and is heavy on the white selections, which is to be expected at a seafood restaurant.
The vegan menu at English Dockside West is worth the trip for offerings that are a bit different than at other nonvegan restaurants. And it's a new viable option for vegan and plant-based diners trying to find a "multivore" friendly restaurant that pleases the meat- (or in this case seafood-) eaters and the vegans.