Quick Bite: Veggie Delight

Pepper Pike: Taking a vegetarian out to eat can be a real chore: You need to do diligent research, making sure your companion has more than a salad or a small corner of the menu to choose from. PepperMint Thai Cuisine boasts right on the front of the menu that it can turn any meal into a vegetarian offering.

The sister restaurant to the popular Mint Café in Cleveland Heights, PepperMint Thai follows the recent trend of offering upscale dining in a suburban strip-mall locale. Once you step inside, the attentive service and white linens make you forget you’re not at a more prestigious address.

Though I usually enjoy a more carnivorous meal, I took the restaurant up on its veggie-friendly boast. I ordered the vegetarian version of the beef basil ($10.95). It’s offered two ways: You can opt for extra mushrooms, onions and red and green peppers, or swap in tofu for the protein like I did.

The tofu was crispy, and the hot spices gave the dish a lot of flavor. Also, the portion was large enough to be filling, but not so large as to inspire gluttony. And it sure beat a salad.

My dining companion had no desire to skimp on the protein. She ordered the peppermint garden chicken ($10.95), which had a subtle peanut sauce served on the side. The sweet, tangy sauce was unusual, a nice departure from more Americanized versions, which taste more like boiled-down peanut butter.

A lengthy wine and spirits list gave plenty of drink options, but those hoping for a memorable jigger of Scotch or a proper sip of tequila should plan on taking their nightcap at home.

30769 Pinetree Road, Pepper Pike, (216) 464-5432, peppermintthaicuisine.com
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