Veggie Girl: York St.

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Veggie Girl finds vegan and vegetarian options at Dallas establishments of all kinds. The column appears Tuesdays and Thursdays.

I love a good storm. So when I woke up last Thursday to howling winds and sheets of furious rain, I resisted the urge to crawl back into bed and instead opted for staring raptly out my window, thrilled by the weather. As it turned out, that was the day's high point--until dinner, anyway.

Leaving for work was fine; I wrapped myself in a ski jacket and shot out of the house like a clown from a circus cannon, landing in my driver's seat intact but soaked anyway. It went downhill from there. Trees blocked the streets around my house; a series of detours eventually led me to a puddle that threatened to come in through the windows. On the side of the street-cum-river, two college-age kids in sandals and rain jackets were taking photos of the flood while I prayed for my survival.

Living in East Dallas means the power is out all the time--on windy/stormy/giant-flood-with-tornado times, but also on a sunny day with no wind. I knew going home was futile...and so went the day. I was afraid to go to work, because the puddles were lakes, and I couldn't seem to find a coffee shop that had power. So I sat in my car and felt sorry for myself (and wrote a chapter in my novel about a girl who got stuck in a flood on her birthday).

Ah, East Dallas! The home of myself, half the Observer staff, several part-feral chickens (I blame Schutze) and...York St.

To the food, then! York Street seems like a step-cousin to Chez Panisse, Alice Waters' restaurant in Berkeley so famous for its ingredients-based dishes (and exorbitant prices, and disdain for...well, that's another story). The trick is full disclosure: Tell them you're vegan, and chef Sharon Hage will cook up a storm of vegetables into something truly inspired. In our case, the seasonal delights (the menu changes nightly) included nine (yes, nine!) little piles of heaven: lemony avocado; perfectly fresh and crunchy asparagus; delicately seasoned East Dallas Asian greens; sea beans with radicchio; fennel with meaty, fresh artichoke hearts and arugula in an airy vinaigrette; chunky homemade hummus; one delicious bite of blood-red heirloom tomato; a lovely, just-vinegary-enough yellow tomato salad and tender slices of beets roasted in red wine vinegar.

Enough for you? The pre-appetizers consisted of little green olives marinated in fresh thyme and a small bowl of spiced almonds, paired with a quiet rosé.

The dining room is tiny, but it feels more like an intimate sanctuary than a cramped food factory. Blame that on the storm, or the number of guests who'd been waylaid by the floods or simply put off by the idea of a generator, but York Street last Thursday was a small moment of sublimity in a tumultuous day. Paired with the fact that they know the word "vegan"--and well, too; they actually asked whether we ate white sugar--our meal was simple perfection.

York Street
6047 Lewis St.

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