Ordering vegan at a non-vegan restaurant can go one of two ways: either the restaurant can see your request for a vegan meal as burden on the kitchen, or they can see it as an opportunity to let their skills shine. The Factory Kitchen, located in The Venetian’s “Restaurant Row” is definitely the latter. The vegan-friendly Factory Kitchen sees your request for a delicious vegan meal as a welcome challenge that they most certainly excel at.
Looking at their menu, you won’t notice any items exclusively labeled “vegan”, however, trust your knowledgeable server to guide you through, and help you unlock the seemingly unlimited potential of their accommodating chef and kitchen staff.
Menus are printed daily in order to include the freshest seasonal ingredients that the chef is highlighting that evening. What this means to a vegan customer is that the kitchen has a ton of fresh ingredients, along with vegan handmade pastas (which change shape daily) to work with.
Dining in late spring, the menu was full of English peas, asparagus, and fresh garbanzo and fava beans. With those ingredients, the chef was able to create some very impressive dishes.
The Tuscan Kale Salad featured tender kale and radicchio tossed in a classic champagne vinaigrette, with savory bits of toasted hazelnuts and crostini crumbs. The dish is normally served with aged ricotta, but leaving that off didn’t take away from this hearty, savory salad that would be ideal for a power lunch, or the start of a relaxed, multi-course meal complete with a bottle of vegan wine.
The “Sorrentina” appeared on the menu in the form of their grilled calamari appetizer, but what was once a supporting cast was elevated to the star of the show. Thinly sliced zucchini noodles were tossed with fresh mint and a chili vinaigrette, fresh fava beans, chilled asparagus, and cherry tomatoes.
One of the more surprising appetizers on the menu was their beer battered baby leeks. It came to the table is a fritto misto of sorts, with Menabrea lager battered leeks playing the role of high-end onion rings, served with frittura, which are essentially chickpea flour fritters acting as thick-cut french fries. The vegan version leaves-off the cheese sauce, which your server can replace with their smoky romesco sauce instead.
Risotto option changes daily, but chef will always be able to create a delicious vegan version for you using vegetable stock and skipping the cheese. When we were there, using the English peas and asparagus, they were able to create an incredibly earthy and balanced green risotto topped with sautéed porcini mushrooms. Satisfying as an entree, their risottos would also be a great dish to share, freeing up some space to sample more of their vegan offerings.
Pasta is made fresh daily, and they always ensure that they have at least one or two vegan shapes to choose from. Casarecce was the perfect pasta to go along with their onion and tomato “crema”. The chef roasts a variety of sweet onions, blends them with tomatoes, and then emulsifies the puree with olive oil until it becomes a rich and creamy sauce.
Because of the seasonality of the restaurant, entree options can vary, but if you’re lucky enough to dine with them when they have fresh abalone mushrooms, then you’re in for a real treat. The mushrooms are grilled to perfection, and served atop grilled polenta cakes. The stacks are balanced out an herbal salad tossed in a light vinaigrette, and served with a swipe of romesco sauce, with aged balsamic vinegar and olive oil intentionally dotted around the plate.
Save a bit of room at the end of the meal so you can sample their daily selection of house-made sorbets. Flavors change with the season, as do the fresh fruits and berries that are served on top.
3355 S. Las Vegas Blvd. (The Venetian), 89109, 702-414-1222, Monday – Sunday: 11:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.