When I first arrived to Vagabond I was pumped! I had heard good things about it, did some research and then ended up there for a company outing. There were a lot of good vibes when I walked through the doors of this spot. The open-air trucks that sat around the restaurant, the ample space for patrons, the open-air feel and patio area during warm weather all contributed to this environment. The retro-like neon signs that were also present and pictures of Michael Jackson and Willie Nelson on restaurant signage also added to this vintage but clean aesthetic of Vagabond. Rainbow colors were plastered throughout seats, walls and everywhere in between, while a sea of blue also was very prevalent through the venue, as blue is a staple of Vagabond's color palette.
Everything I just described about Vagabond was centered around its exterior and interior design. Now, let's get to the part about my food, which was utterly underwhelming. The guacamole and salsa verde we received with the chips (which is not complimentary) did not have much flavor at all. The guacamole dip needed a little more lime, lemon, tomato or something that would give it a little more zest and life! The chips also lacked flavor, needing a dash of salt or something savory. I do not crave salt when I go out to eat, but I still expect some type of seasoning or salt to give food flavor. (that's why I love food) I might eat a mainly plant-based diet, but that does not mean flavors have to disappear. If anything, my ability to taste pungent flavors and taste buds have all drastically improved for the better. My rice and beans also provided me with few feel good endorphins and a lack of seasoning. Maybe this was a one time occurrence, but that one time, a.k.a. this visit, provided me with chips and dips and rice and beans that were simply lackluster.
When I finished devouring my entree, which consisted of a falafel curry taco, a cauliflower buffalo taco and a tempura avocado taco, I was not too impressed either. The cauliflower option came slathered in cholula sauce, something I generally enjoy, but it was way too much for my liking. (to the point where sauce was dripping off of the cauliflower.) I have made cauliflower tacos at home, and I season them and add a little salsa, but do not put hot sauce on them for this very reason of it being too much. Cauliflower tends to soak up whatever is poured onto it when pan seared, making me think that a little less sauce is the best way to go for this option. The falafel curry was not bad, as the curry was fried to a crisp, but the curry could have been a little less intense and in quantity. Again, less is more in this case when you are dealing with items including hot sauce, curry and tacos. However, this option was probably my favorite option out of the three tacos that I ate. (which might not be saying much) Lastly, I decided to try the fried avocado option with rice noodles among other ingredients, and I did not like this at all. The fried taste and texture did not apply to the avocado itself, but more so just the breading. The avocado was not soft enough and had the taste of an avocado that was not ripe enough for me. Next time I will opt for Vagabond's mushroom and black bean options if I do get tacos. (Thanks @milwaukeephoto & @ali_close)
Overall, I loved the scenery inside and outside of Vagabond, the vibes of this spot and will have to try out some of their other plant-based options to see if my opinion changes. However, this place ranked pretty average (at best) for me and left me wanting more, which is never a good sign after leaving a restaurant. One might argue this is not a place to seek plant-based eats, but that should not matter when talking about quality. (it's also 2017 get it together) If I do come back to this restaurant, hopefully it's worth every penny and not on my dime. I walked out of Vagabond disappointed and my head held low, but I will try their other two veggie options and their shrimp option (thanks @paulatews) to give more thoughts. Hopefully it is a much better experience. Peace and grub!