Fud is the newest kid on a block that has become delightfully restaurant-intensive. There are seven restaurants within a block of the 17th and Summit intersection on the Westside. Along with Westside Local, Chez Elle, Los Alamos Market Y Cocina, Lill’s on 17th, and Blue Bird Bistro. That doesn’t include Fervere Bakery, which only sells bread (but what great bread it is).
Fud is a completely vegan restaurant, with a heavy and successful emphasis on Mexican dishes. Vegan is distinguished from vegetarian by its absence of any dairy. The “meat” in these and other entrees is either green jackfruit or a wild rice concoction. The one with jackfruit is called Jack Phish and is particularly flavorful because of the addition of mole to the mix. Chalupas, tacos, burritos and even wraps all feature one of these meat substitutes along with Cashew Goji Cheddar, Cashew Lemony Cream, Pico de Gallo and Limony Guac. Meat eaters will not be disappointed. These dishes taste fabulous and much like what you’d enjoy at a Mexican restaurant.
What is green jackfruit? According to my colleague Jill Silva of the Kansas City Star, It’s “the world’s largest tree fruit, …it is indigenous to parts of Africa, Brazil and southeast Asia. The goose-pimpled, green-skinned oval fruit can weigh up to a colossal 100 pounds. The flesh can be eaten ripe or unripe.”
The green jackfruit can also be found on the menu in a Reuben and a pulled “pork” sandwich dressed up with barbecue sauce.
“Wraps” sport large collard green leaves rather than tortillas, which is clever and more healthful. Fillings include those same Mexican ingredients or vegetables, including one with roasted portabello mushrooms.
In addition to sampling the Mexican fare, we also ordered a spicy tofu sandwich served on multigrain toast with tomato, lettuce and a mayo-like spread. It looked just okay and I thought I’d take a couple of bites and call it a day. I’m not a huge tofu fan, especially the harder variety, and this looked like it would be low on the flavor scale. But it tasted fantastic! I ate every bite. And I felt like I was eating a substantial sandwich, but without the fat that usually is part of that equation.
The menu varies daily and the day’s specials can be found on the website. Pictures of each dish are also displayed, which is a helpful tool for novice vegans. While mainly a lunch spot, it has expanded its hours and is now open for dinner Thursday-Saturday.
While the food was a pleasant surprise, the atmosphere left something to be desired. I’m all for California casual, with an open kitchen and a minimalist dining area. I liked the wood floors, but it was so uneven that the table moved each time we put our hands or elbows on it. And one or two matchbooks or sugar packets wouldn’t do the trick even if that had been an option. One of us had to hold the table so that our plates didn’t slide into our laps. And the ventilation definitely needs some work. Looking into the kitchen we could see the smoke from the stove, which resulted in our clothes smellng like our lunch when we left. It also got quite warm and the windows fogged up. Every time someone opened the door we luxuriated in the fresh air that briefly passed our way.
Okay, so Fud has some cosmetic issues to address. But once it does, I will definitely go back. The food made me feel virtuous and given how often I eat out, that’s certainly something that doesn’t happen often!