Eagle Rock’s venerable vestal of vegan cuisine, Fatty’s, has recently reopened after the owners took a long sabbatical. The intermission seemed endless—I would slowly drive by on my way down Colorado Boulevard, hoping that the strings of twinkly lights would be back on, glowing cheerfully through the big glass garage doors, illuminating happy diners noshing on the inventive, local, and relatively sinful food it had become known for in the last few years. It recently dawned on me that I should cruise the boulevard Thursday through Sunday, because Fatty’s has always been eccentric in its hours. I was rewarded by the sight of twinkling lights and, in short order, an 8 p.m. Saturday reservation.
In the time that Fatty’s was closed, vegan cuisine evolved from slightly outre to mainstream. (How do I know? Last week, at 10:30 p.m., a ninth-grade boy formerly known for his addiction to junk food took one look in my refrigerator and exclaimed joyously, “I’ll have broccoli and hummus!” He became a vegan at Thanksgiving and hasn’t eaten anything with eyes since.) I was keen to see if and how Fatty’s had evolved, too. The menu is a bit longer, the wines are more interesting, there’s beer (solar-powered and gluten-free varieties!), and a little kale amuse-bouche to get you going. It’s still a short menu with old favorites and adventuresome new things, including more gluten-free stuff and a slightly more South of France take on things. But plus ça change, plus ça le meme chose, and I’m kind of glad.
They still sell a glass-and-a-half of wine, my favorite dose with dinner. Still on the menu are deliciously crazy items like the signature “flaps,” deep-fried potato crisps with aioli (named after their resemblance to a daschund’s ears), and a fluffly plate of cotton candy (“spun to order”) for dessert. The appearance of the latter at a table next to us caused the two little girls there to shriek with delight and plunge their faces into the glorious, pale pink nest. Mind you, they were about 10 years old—I put it down to nascent foodie-ism rather than purely childish glee, since full-grown adults in the same situation were having a hard time not following suit.
Fatty’s does interesting purely vegan things with nuts (a delicious walnut croquette), mushrooms (the bulk in paella), pulses (chickpeas and lentils in the mousacca), seitan, and tofu; pizzas are on egg-free crusts and can even be gluten-free, like many of the dishes. Many items have an option for cheese (rennet-free), and vegetarian items are marked. Some of the menu is vegan adaptations of classic cuisine while others are pure Fatty’s (Cleopatra Balls: smoked brown rice, mushrooms and legumes with Provençal sauce). The crowd is happy, the room is cheerful, the staff is great, the food is fresh and interesting, and vegan is the new black. Why not go back to Fatty’s?
Fatty’s, 1627 Colorado Blvd., Eagle Rock, 323.254.8804, fattyscafe.com. Beer & wine. Appetizers $5-8, mains $12-$20; dessert $4-$10.