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Plant-Based Treatery at Citizen Eatery

12.16.2016 by: Tom Harris
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Citizen Eatery, a new vegetarian spot on the edge of Austin’s Rosedale neighborhood, is a welcome addition to the ever-lengthening list of restaurants off of Burnet.

Citizen supplements a standard full bar with kombucha and iced coffee taps.

During a recent visit, we found the interior bright, spare, and rustic in the most refined way possible, with blonde wood and black tabletops accenting the white walls. Even though the day was dreary, floor-to-ceiling windows let in plenty of diffuse light, and, despite the high ceilings and exposed ductwork, Citizen felt downright comforting. Details, too, were selectively chosen and pitch-perfect such as a bowl of brilliant orange persimmons serving as a centerpiece and sprigs of lavender in vases, highlighting a pass-through window.

Details on display

I belabor the keen eye for visual pop because this tendency is manifested in Citizen’s plating. Dramatically so - some of the dishes were among the most visually arresting I’ve ever seen in a restaurant of Citizen’s price point. The Parsnip Pancake & BBQ, for example, was an edible stoplight. The vibrant steamed kale, sunny egg-rich pancake, and bold pulled jackfruit catch the eye. The Bitters Salad is more muted in palette but still carefully composed, with flower petals visually elevating an otherwise straightforward leafy bowl.

A plate that pops: The Parsnip Pancake & BBQ

At the end of the day, though, gorgeously plated food is good for nothing beyond a handful of Instagram likes if it doesn’t, you know, taste good. Blessedly, Citizen’s emphasis on the visual didn’t translate to failing to see the forest for the trees where taste was concerned.

The aforementioned BBQ-and-pancake dish paired the former’s savory tang with the latter’s subdued earthiness, and hit its target admirably. The result was hearty without being heavy and comforting without rendering one catatonic. A side dish of vegan sausage crumbles - a $2 add-on item - was perhaps the most impressive item we ordered, evoking the fennel-forward warmth and agreeable texture of the real thing.

A bracing Bitters Salad

Ultimately, Citizen Eatery brings another recently reviewed vegetarian (actually vegan) restaurant to mind, The Beer Plant. Both hew to plant-based ingredient lists, but neither allows those ingredients to define anything about the quality, appearance, or presentation of the dishes they turn out, which are unapologetically hearty and bold. Both restaurants are convivial, welcoming places, with a confidence in their food that speaks volumes. It really is a good time to be vegetarian in Austin right now. 

{Citizen Eatery official website}

TAGS : Allandale/Rosedale/Brentwood , Citizen Eatery