This past Monday, Simon, Oliver, and I visited Sputnik for our very first time. Actually, I’d been there about a century ago on some random Match.com first date, but I didn’t eat there and there was no 2nd date so I don’t count that.
I’d heard for a long time that Sputnik has a great vegetarian/vegan menu, I just found it hard to believe and I thought it was a sort of dive bar and being on South Broadway it didn’t conjure up the image of a lovely afternoon lunch with my family. That idea came from the fact that Sputnik is attached to Hi Dive (same owners) and Hi Dive is “One of the most important new venues in town and the only place for hip new bands to be heard and seen. – Denver Post.” It was new as of 2003 and seems kind of dive-y to me. The parking kind of sucks in this neighborhood, Broadway is like 5 lanes all going south and I rarely find a convenient place to park around there. I found a metered space about a block away and luckily it was a holiday so there was no need to pay the meter – though there was some confusion about that and I ended up putting 36 cents in as an experiment.
Sputnik looked kind of crappy from the outside, but we ventured in anyway, it was just about to start snowing and we were hungry. The interior was dark; the space is skinny but long, along the left side was the bar and on the right side were nice big booths. There was one booth open towards the back so we grabbed it. The customers were a combination of art-y, alternative, punk, and homeless. I was wearing my yoga clothes as we’d just come straight from the gym and I didn’t appear to fit in, but then again at the ripe old age of 36 I don’t care as much that I don’t fit in. There aren’t any high chairs, but our son is 2-years-old and was happy to climb around in the booth playing peek-a-boo with the goth chicks behind us (who were desperately trying to ignore just how cute he is). The waitress was unimpressed and jaded with a collection of crappy tattoos peeking out from under her clothes. The menus were at the table, diner-style, and dirty…but once my eyes adjusted to the dark ambiance I could read and became very excited! Vegan options were everywhere!!!
One thing I really love is going in to a restaurant and being able to order anything from the menu and being confident that there won’t be meat in it! Sputnik came very close to giving me this restaurant orgasm. The menu items total 19 and 16 of them are already vegetarian or have a vegan option (just ask your friendly waitress.) The menu features a “Hangover Brunch,” a “Late Night” menu, and a $6 “1/2 Sandwich with a Side” lunch special. There are also several vegan “Add-ons” and there are easy to figure out gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan option symbols next to most items. And lots of different and really interesting vegan sauces to dip your fries (or whatever) in. Banana Ketchup?! Guava Jam?! If it sounds that weird, it must be good.
I ordered the Vietnamese Sandwich – vegan (VIETNAMESE SANDWICH $8.5 vegan soy meat topped with cucumbers, scallions, jalapenos, cilantro, pickled carrot and daikon, and vegan mayo) My husband ordered the BLT – vegan (BLT OR TLT $7.25 smoked tempeh with lettuce, oven-roasted tomato, and cracked pepper mayo. Known as the TLT, the first T standing for Tempeh). We both really enjoyed the sandwiches, I ate all of mine and half of his – don’t hate me, I have a high metabolism. The drinks were great, there’s a long alcoholic drink menu, but I decided to get the soy chai since we had just spent an hour at the gym before we got to the restaurant. I try to be virtuous, at least while the sun is up.
Awesome features: Vegan options! Free Wi-Fi and a totally cool photo booth by the front door. Big booths for big sitting. Vegan options! :)
Not-So-Awesome: Dark and grungy. Slightly understaffed (at least they were on Monday). Food comes in a plastic basket. Sparse street parking. Not very kid friendly.
I wanted some delic vegan lunch today and we decided to get take out from Sputnik. We ordered over the phone from a not-so-friendly member of their staff and drove up there to pick it up. There’s a convenient “pay” parking lot right next door that I illegally parked in while we picked up our food.
The place was packed with really cool looking angry people or really angry looking cool people…really glad we didn’t decide to dine in!
One of my pet peeves about getting take out is that there is A LOT of waste! Everything comes in its own recyclable or not-recyclable package, there are usually packages of sauce, things wrapped in plastic or foil, bags, silverware, lids, etc. It’s enough packaging to fill up our dumpster! BUT today all Sputnik gave us were two biodegradable paper take out boxes. No extras, no bag to carry it in, no silverware…HOW REFRESHING.
The food was out of this world! I ordered from the “Hangover Brunch” menu and got the Breakfast Burrito – vegan – with vegan chorizo. It was huge; I ate the whole thing in one sitting and I could have eaten it over and over again. Really, really, really delicious. Immediately after, I took a 2-hour nap. Wow. This burrito changed my life.
Menu reading: BREAKFAST BURRITO $7.5 Vegan optional
Scrambled eggs or tofu, pinto beans, home fries and cheese wrapped in a flour tortilla and topped with green chili, cilantro and onions. Add avocado, bacon, chorizo or vegan chorizo $1.5.
Simon ordered the Freddie Murphy sandwich. He ate the whole thing and loved it.
Menu reading: FREDDIE MURPHY $9 Vegan optional
Pastrami or smoked tofu with provolone, sweet and sour slaw, sliced tomato and hand cut fries.
All piled on Italian bread.
Lesson Learned: If you’re not uber-cool and don’t feel like dealing with grumpy waitstaff and an understaffed restaurant, order your food “to-go!”