Mellow Melon juices (Emma Slonina/MJ)
Mellow Melon juices (Emma Slonina/MJ)

BY EMMA SLONINA, Staff Columnist

It’s only February, but this crazy Michigan weather has made it feel like springtime for a while. And springtime always means vegetables. Everything starts growing back and getting green, and I shrug off heavy food like a winter coat.

It’s only wishful thinking that spring is already here, but there are worse things than veggie cravings…

To get my fix, I recently visited Seva in Ann Arbor, a vegetarian restaurant that I’ve only heard good things about. Despite having had good experiences in the past with vegetarian restaurants (even vegan restaurants), I somehow forget that the food will not be boring, or unsatisfying, or weird.

Macaroni and cheese made with raw milk and aged white cheddar. (Emma Slonina/MJ)

In fact, it is often just the opposite. Vegetarians and vegans are foodies too! Vegetarian cuisine is often extremely innovative to get the same tastes and sensory satisfaction that other cuisines get through meat and animal products.

I was particularly excited for their organic juice. They have a variety of single and mixed juice drinks – as well as plenty of spiked ones. We went for the “mellow melon” blend of cantaloupe, watermelon, and apple juices and happily sipped the froth-topped drinks during our meal.

I had already snuck a peak at the menu before our visit (I often cheat this way) but still had no idea what to get. Really, I wanted every appetizer and about a dozen entrees, but that may have been a little greedy of me, so I just got the General Tso’s cauliflower to start and eyed my boyfriend’s macaroni and cheese until he offered me a forkful.

General Tso’s cauliflower. (Emma Slonina/MJ)

When that cauliflower came to the table, steaming hot in a parchment paper-lined basket, I wished I’d just ordered it for my main meal. Giant chunks of cauliflower, deep-fried in a light tempura batter and drenched in the lightest, freshest sweet and sour chili sauce. It was divine. We split the order, but I could have eaten the whole basket as a meal, especially with a side of rice. I may never eat sweet and sour chicken again – cauliflower is way better. I will be learning how to make this dish ASAP.

Enchiladas calabazas. (Emma Slonina/MJ)

No sooner was I eating the last piece of heavenly cauliflower than my butternut squash enchiladas came to the table in a little cast iron skillet, with a side of fresh tortilla chips and salsa. I was wary of the enchiladas being too sweet, being made with squash, but they were perfectly balanced. The chewy corn tortilla gave it plenty of body and texture, while the creamy squash had the sweet factor, and the cheese and spicy tomato sauce gave it the right amount of salty, savory goodness that a main dish needs to be satisfying.

I almost ate all of it. Charlie almost finished his macaroni and cheese as well, but we couldn’t bring ourselves to push it any farther. Not when faced with a full dessert menu, at least.

Caramelized pear and raspberry torte. (Emma Slonina/MJ)

I was dying to try the caramelized pear and raspberry torte. Brown sugar crumb cake topped with pears, raspberries, and cinnamon streusel. Could there be a more perfect dessert? The cake was ultra-moist and dense – more like a soft crust than a cake. The pear slices inside were thick and juicy, not too sweet, and the raspberries brought tartness. I had been disappointed that it was a torte rather than a tart before it came to the table, but it was absolutely wonderful just as it was.

The restaurant happens to sit right on top of a comedy club, which can be very hit or miss, but makes for a good all-in-one date. If nothing’s going on, or the show doesn’t look good, it’s only a short walk to the Michigan and State Theatres.

They also have a Detroit location with a slightly different menu. Definitely worth a try!

Open every day for lunch and dinner. Contact 734-662-1111 (Ann Arbor), 313-974-6661 (Detroit).