Reviewed by Jeff Walker

My Casual Dining Standard – Truxton’s American Bistro (Westchester)

Visited: Friday afternoon (3/14/08)
Location: 720 Allied Way, El Segundo, CA 90245 (in Edge section of Plaza El Segundo) (map)(link)
Phone: 310-535-0025

Other Location: 4213 Campus Drive, Irvine, CA 92612 (University Center) (map)
Phone: 949-509-0003

A healthy alternative to the typical casual restaurant, The Veggie Grill serves variations of classic sandwiches and entrees that use veggie protein blends that are surprisingly tasty and have you wondering if it’s actually real meat.

Deeper Insights:

If you are looking for any real meat (or Coca-Cola for that matter), don’t even bother coming in here. However, while one would expect an array of vegetables, The Veggie Grill is more like a healthier alternative to a Chili’s or a burger joint. The entrees feature seemingly familiar items such as Carne Asada or Chickin’ Marinara, but use seasoned and marinated veggie protein blends instead of meat. In the Santa Fe Crispy Chickin’ sandwich, the veggie substitute was startlingly similar to real chicken in terms of looks, taste, and texture. While disarming mentally, the actual sandwich was quite satisfying.

That’s the thing with The Veggie Grill. If you can get over the fact that you’re eating veggie blends that are really similar to real meat, then you’ll enjoy the food. If not, stick with a soup or salad, or go elsewhere.

Even if you want to feel like you ate a healthy meal, you may want to opt for the Whole Foods across the street. The meals at The Veggie Grill are hearty and lack the light, cleansed feeling one gets from a salad or “healthy” food. Entrees may be rich in proteins and minerals and be free of cholesterol, but with some of the food being fried, you still feel like you pigged out a bit.

If you can swallow the idea of veggie substitutes for real meat, The Veggie Grill is a nice lunch option and represents the best of both worlds. You can eat food that tastes better than most vegetarian or health food, without sacrificing all of the health benefits.


Attitude: The Veggie Grill lacks the pretension one can associate with healthy food, while aiming to satisfy and fill you with natural, wholesome food.

Bathroom: The men’s bathroom is large, modern (unique sink in particular), and very clean. It serves one at a time and has a urinal, toilet, and a working lock.

Condiments: Unless provided with your meal (as stated in the menu), condiments (including organic ketchup) are only available to the left of the drink dispensers. None are on the tables themselves.

Crowd: Diverse mix of men and women (singles and couples) ranging from teens to people in their 40s.

Décor: Clean white space accented by bright reds, oranges, and greens.

Dress: Come as you are.

Drinks: Only dispensed drinks are water and teas. Bottled natural sodas and organic beer, wine and coffee are available.

Hours: 11 a.m – 10 p.m.

Line: On a Friday afternoon, only one person was ahead in line. Moves quickly – order, pay, and wait for your food.
Tip: Take-out is available by calling 310-535-0025.

Music: Noticeable, but not intrusive pop-rock that ranged from Bad Company to Five for Fighting to Miami Sound Machine to Smashmouth.

Order to Service: 5 to 7 minutes to receive food. Sit at a table with a number and then your food is brought to you.

Parking: Plenty of free parking in the shopping center.

Payment Options: All major credit cards accepted.

People Watching: Don’t expect to find a hot date, but you may find a new yoga partner.

Seating: About 25 small tables scattered throughout the place and tightly packed together. Also, are another ten or so tables outside on the patio.

Service: Workers were helpful, friendly, and seemed ready to answer any questions. None of the silver or plateware is plastic, so all plates are cleared by the workers.

Smoking: Outside only.

Water: Free self-serve water in a large cup. Lemons are available.

What I Ate:

Santa Fe Crispy Chickin’ Sandwich (Crispy fried chillin’ chickin’, lettuce, tomato, red onion, avocado, southwestern spiced vegan mayo served on a wheat bun): The veggie protein blend looked and tasted like real chicken. It was almost like a gourmet McChicken sandwich without the actual chicken. I’m an avocado aficionado, so more would have been nice, but the sandwich still tasted good thanks to the southwestern vegan mayo that provided some mild kick. $8.95

Sweetheart Fries (Sweet potato fries, with chipotle ranch): Fries were piled high and were more than enough to fill me up. They had a subtle sweet taste that provided nice flavor and no blandness. The chipotle ranch was excellent for dipping both the fries and the sandwich. $1.95 (normally $3.95, but substituted for side of slaw with entrée)

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