Steamed Organic Vegetarian Cuisine is exceptional on many levels. The standards of freshness far exceed the average café, as every ingredient in each vegetarian (with the option of vegan) dish is locally grown and organic. All the tasty sides and sauces are chopped and prepared daily and nothing comes from a place far away; meaning no preservatives, just natural flavors, down to the table salt.
With all these requirements for freshness, you might imagine a small, rather bland menu. On the contrary, Steamed offers over 15 dishes, all which can be converted into vegan, that are all full of numerous ingredients perfectly combined. There is also an abundance of ingredient supplements that can be added to each dish and delicious sides like guacamole, fresh pesto, brown beans, tofu, jasmine and brown basmati rice and pinto beans.
Out of 10 quesadilla and burrito options, I opted for the SoCal Quesdilla, with a white flour tortilla versus corn or whole wheat. It was loaded with steamed spinach, melted cheese, sliced red onions, pinto beans and rice and topped with sour cream and guacamole. And when I say loaded, I mean that tortilla could not have fit another spinach leaf. It was a large portion with large taste and no meat necessary.
Aside from the healthy ingredients winning my taste buds over, it was full of fresh flavor and filling. Don’t let the steamed spinach full you.
I had to try a salad, the common go-to vegetarian dish, so I chose the Greek. Honestly, I love Greek food and even make a mean Greek salad myself, but this was quite amazing. The tastes just linger and flavors pin point at different parts of digestion.
First, you get the fresh mixed greens covered in a traditional Greek dressing that instantly jumps starts the taste buds and allows for plentiful absorption of the all the ingredients. Next, the kalamata olives creep in and hit you with a tang. Then the feta cheese crumbles and is finished off with tasteful tomatoes, cucumbers and red onions. And that was just the first bite. I got to enjoy about 15 more of those, with all those flavors lingering each swallow.
And what kind of taste tester would I be if I didn’t try some tofu at a vegetarian restaurant? So, I choose the Steamed Tofu Plate with the coconut curry option, by far the most nutritious of my pickings. The bowl was packed with steamed mixed veggies, including cabbage, black kale, fennel, radish, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, peas, onions, yellow squash, swiss chard and some cashews. It was topped with tofu and a lite curry dressing, but definitely not drenched like a typical curry plate would be.
Now although steamed veggies are a nutritious way to consume nutrients, they are not always the most flavorful. But if I were to eat this many steamed veggies in a dish ever again, it would have to be from Steamed. They somehow manage to combine a plate full of fresh veggies, tofu and curry sauce into a plentiful, potluck of nutrients that is not only goof for the body, but yummy for the tummy.
In honor of my reviewing, the Steamed staff also offered me some samples of sides. And just like a language translation isn’t always exact, but nonetheless gets the point across, Steamed makes a few vegetarian/vegan versions of classic sides.
The vegan sour cream was not white, but a definite dish enhancer. Created with numerous spices and seasonings, it has a chipotle taste and could make a great salad dressing or delectable addition to any dry dish.
The “tuna” is called “Happy Tuna” by the staff, because nothing dies in the process of making. It includes crushed garbanzo beans mixed with veganaise, sweet relish, dill and mustard and was so fabulous, I enjoyed it sans the tortilla chips supplied. Sort of like a hummus, but less strong and more filling, it could be a dip, salad topper, or sandwich main ingredient. It has a nice rich texture and flavor, and the garbanzo beans crunch is a mouth pleaser.
Steamed also makes fabulous fresh salsa, guacamole, and vegan Parmesan cheese. Not quite the real thing, in my opinion, but certainly tasty and so much more healthy. It has a bit of a crunch unlike the regular fresh Parmesan, but can be sprinkled onto a salad, spaghetti, or tofu plate to add flavor and bite.
The fresh foods are delivered by certified, organic, local farmers about three times and week and each morning the staff spends about 2-3 hours preparing for the day. You can also purchase anything they use as an ingredient or cleaning supply in store, and every dish, silverware and cup is a yard sale purchase, helping to keep costs low.
For your liquid pleasure, they offer numerous juices, organic "sodas", complementary flavored water and it's a BYOB, with a $2 cork fee that the staff with happily cork. Speaking of staff, they are kind, knowledgeable and clearly enjoy working at this year old establishment that was created to educate and expose locals to healthy, wholesome eating habits.
"The atmosphere here is unique and our clientele is very mellow," Jeffrey V. said. "I like being able to inform our customers about healthy options and watching them enjoy their meals."
Steamed is charming and delicious, healthy and conscious, and the neighbors seemed to appreciate every aspect.
“This place is fantastic,” said one lunchtime customer who works at a property management company up the block.
“It’s pretty much the only place we eat for lunch. They have great service and great food. I never ate healthy until I started eating here, and I love everything about it,” Dusty said.
Steamed is contemporary with an old-fashion look, oh-so Long Beach. If you have yet to try it, swing by 801 E. 3rd St in the East Village Arts District and pick a dish, any dish, regardless of your preconceived notions of vegetarian or vegan food. I can almost guarantee you’ll be satisfied, and if your not, try another dish. After all, this food is good for your body, good for the animals and good for our community. That’s a triple win.
Long Beach, CA
Nice write up Molly, sounds like you went pretty adventurous on this one! What's the address for this place?
It was sooo good! Can't wait for more people to enjoy this LB gem! I added the address to the bottom of the discussion, as well as the phone number :)
Steamed is so good and so legit.