Most people, upon hearing the name of this restaurant – Red Velvet Cafe, would immediately start dreaming of decadent Southern desserts. But that’s not the niche for this place, they specialize in healthy foods with an emphasis on providing vegan and vegetarian options to Las Vegas diners.
Taking my husband to a restaurant that mentions anything about “vegan” and “vegetarian” is usually going to be kind of a hard sell. But since the Las Vegas Review Journal gave the establishment’s cheddar bacon fries such a good review, I used that as a little bit of a selling point.
Upon entering the restaurant, our first complaint was that we had to order from the counter, but there was no visible menu posted except for a few “specials” tacked to the wall. To see the full menu you had to pick up a piece of paper at the counter. Thus it creates a slowdown as people have to decide what they want to eat when they should be ordering their food. (Yeah, I’m a little bit of an efficiency freak.)
But we browsed the menu and made our selections, one of which was the cheddar bacon fries. After placing our order we turned around and realized there were no available tables in the restaurant. The man who took our order was very polite and immediately went about finding a place for us. Unfortunately, that place was sharing a table with another couple that was already dining. He asked them to move their stuff and make space for us, which they graciously did; but it still felt awkward.
We waited about 10 minutes and our fries were brought to us. The cheese was good, the (turkey) bacon was good, but the fries were undercooked. It doesn’t matter if you have covered them in tasty cheese and pieces of bacon, nearly raw potatoes are not appetizing.
We poked at that plate for another 10 minutes and our sandwiches finally emerged. I ordered the Caprese Panini and my husband ordered a Chicken Bacon Avocado sandwich. All sandwiches are made on whole wheat bread, which I really appreciated, and an excessive amount of baked potato chips are scattered around on the plate. Perhaps I’m being ignorant on the matter, but when I ordered a panini I expected warm and melty cheese. Not a warm toasty slice of bread, pesto, cold mozzarella slabs and then a toasted yet soggy bottom piece of bread. I tried to eat some of it, but I didn’t get much of it down because the textures were just unappealing.
My husband’s sandwich was better, the chicken breast was a nice cut of meat, fairly thin so it was easy to bite through yet substantial enough that you could get a good taste. The avocado was fresh and tasty plus the addition of turkey bacon was great.
Did we order dessert, from this place named after a dessert? No… the couple that we were seated with ordered a piece of cake to split and it took about 15 minutes for their cake to arrive. So by the time we would have been eating dessert, I knew I didn’t want to hang out and wait that long for a piece of cake. The cake looked decent, kind of like a giant cupcake. It had a strawberry on top, which made for pretty presentation but isn’t very typical for red velvet cake.
This was a bad dining experience. My husband was emanating disappointment and unhappiness, the service was cheerful but slow and the food didn’t meet our expectations. So overall I have to give this a thumbs down. But I’m still intrigued by the concept and several other items sound very good to me. Maybe if I phoned in an order and just took it away I might enjoy it more? I still want to like this place…