Trend Alert: Cauliflower Steaks Take LA

By Lesley Balla  |  June 25, 2014
Credit: Cavatina/Lesley Balla

Not too long ago we asked: Is cauliflower over yet? Apparently not. Not only is it more prevalent than it was in years past, it's bigger than ever — literally — showing up in a thick-cut "steak" form that no longer plays second fiddle to the main dish. Cauliflower's innate meatiness is exaggerated when cut across the head, resulting in a slab that's an inch or two thick, which can be roasted or grilled. The cruciferious veg is also beloved by chefs for its versatility. It's mild enough to take on any flavor: from sweet and savory sauces to curry, pestos and more. Here are three versions to try around town right now.

Superba Snack Bar: Jason Neroni was one of the first to bring the now-growing trend to LA when he added the cauliflower T-bone to the Venice restaurant menu when it opened in 2012. While the rest of the menu offerings change regularly, this dish remains the same up to the present today. What's not to love? It's charred like a steak and served with olive and raisin pistou and almond hummus, which lend a sweet-salty flavor to the dish. It's wonderfully satisfying. 

Acabar: It's a little tongue in cheek for chef Octavio Becerra to call the cauliflower steak a "prime cote de cauliflower" on the menu. Just like you'd find a cote du beouf, it's listed as a whopping 22-ouncer, which is pretty funny, albeit unnecessary. After all, it's still a vegetable, and a giant hunk of a vegetable at that. On the new vegetarian-focused menu at the West Hollywood hot spot, the cauliflower steak comes with quinoa tobouleh and cumin chickpea relish. If the servers gave it as much reverence as a Prime cut of beef and carved it tableside, it would be going a bit too far.

Cavatina: Not only were we impressed with the new menu at the Sunset Marquis hideaway but the cauliflower steak was our favorite dish on a recent visit. Ordered almost as an afterthought, it pleased our meat-eating dining companion more than the actual steak did. Roasted to a perfect caramelized brown, the slab is topped with plump morel mushrooms and bright green fava beans, with preserved truffle yogurt sauce underneath. The flavors simply sing.