Located on the East
Side in what used to be Abu’s Jerusalem Restaurant — and what was
most recently Jow Nai Fouquet — Celesta serves a self-proclaimed
“otherworldly” variety of vegan dishes, all ready to wow vegans,
vegetarians and carnivores alike.
“I feel like people’s palates
are shifting, and people are more open and see the environmental
impact veganism has and the health benefits [of the lifestyle],”
Celesta’s owner and executive chef Melanie Manuel notes. “You can
still have a really indulgent vegan meal and not miss anything.”
Vegetarian for 27 years and
vegan for the last several, Manuel is very familiar with ways to
craft creative and delicious vegan-friendly meals.
One such dish is the
restaurant’s beet carpaccio, which is both vegan and gluten-free.
The beets are slow-roasted, a process that Manuel says enhances the
sweetness of the vegetable. They are then are topped with red onion,
fresh dill and capers, and served with vegan almond ricotta.
“I just want to create an
environment that’s really inviting and open to all kinds of eaters,
and [show] that veganism isn’t an exclusive club, but a space where
people can learn to love asparagus, beets — [even if] they never
thought they would — if they’re prepared correctly,” she says.
Manuel adds that while she
loves offering vegans a food haven, she’s incredibly proud when
meat-eaters enjoy her meat-free meals.
“I think that’s every chef’s
dream: To open people’s minds up to different foods,” she says.
1978 N. Farwell