Reader: The problem at WaterCourse isn't a vegetarian thing, it's a food thing

benedictwatercourse.jpg
Danielle Lirette
WaterCourse Foods serves a great vegetarian version of eggs Benedict.
"I want to be known across the board as a place that has great food, and that maybe doesn't serve meat," says Rachel Kesley, the exec chef of WaterCourse Foods, whichGretchen Kurtz reviews this week. And the food at WaterCourse can indeed be great, especially if you order from the chef's page section of the menu, where the dishes "switch seasonally and feel fresh and inspired," Kurtz says. In comparison, though, some of the old standards can seem substandard.

See also: Behind the scenes at WaterCourse Foods

Says monopod:

This review captures my feelings about WC. There's so much potential there if they could just concentrate on making amazing food that happens to be vegetarian (or vegan). Whether or not meat's involved, you still have to get the seasoning right, make sure the textures are complementary, the proportions of ingredients are right, the food tastes fresh, etc., and that's where WC has fallen down on my visits. Case in point: I had an artichoke soup there that had nice flavor, but there were bits of the fuzzy "choke" floating in the soup -- some prep chef hadn't taken the time to be sure all of the choke had been removed before pureeing the artichokes, and that completely killed the dish (the choke sticks in your throat and is generally unpleasant to eat). It's not a vegetarian thing, it's a food thing.
Have you eaten at WaterCourse foods lately? What did you think of your meal?

And what do you think of the concluding question in Kurtz's review:

I have often wondered why the farm-to-table movement of recent years hasn't spawned more vegetarian restaurants, and why, with the uptick in people forgoing animal products, there hasn't been an increase in restaurants of all kinds -- Italian, New American, Vietnamese, etc. -- that maybe don't serve meat. Isn't it time for "vegetarian" as an adjective to be dropped, just as we've outgrown the need for "lady" as a modifier for doctor or engineer?
Is it time? Post your thoughts below.


Location Info

WaterCourse Foods

837 E. 17th Ave., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

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44 comments
GiGi Gilded Lily Ramone
GiGi Gilded Lily Ramone

i agree with what most people have said...the food is just too dang bland and a slab of tempeh does not a vegan meal make..just saying.

Doug Bohm
Doug Bohm

Looks like all the haters are coming on out these comments. The place is great! Some food takes a more refined palette. If you're use to eating highly salted and/or sugared meats and dishes, then the food is going to taste weird to you. Try it a few times, you will find something you like.

patricia.calhoun
patricia.calhoun moderator editortopcommenter

I'd like to publish some of these comments in our print edition....

Michael Sabin
Michael Sabin

The "Chefs" are always out back smoking joints, it's just a "Seen-Be seen" Scene.....you don't go for the food.....

Aaron Harmon
Aaron Harmon

Wtf is WaterCourse? Sounds highly irrelevant.

steve.penders
steve.penders

The food is poorly done and the staff acts like a bunch of fucking stuck up snobs. On one visit our food took forever to come out and was poorly made. The onion rings were soggy and overly salted and the portabella sandwich was bland and also soggy ( how does this happen? ). When I was ready to pay the tab the server just dropped the check on the table and walked away as I was handing it back with my credit card. She took another 30 minutes to come back. I walked up to several staff members and the hostess asking to pay my bill and they all were very flippant and said to wait for my server. Naturally I left a zero dollar tip for the awful experience, and in my haste to leave this shithole I accidentally left a shopping bag. When I went back for it 5 of the staff confronted me and essentially held my bag hostage grilling me on why I didn't tip. I explained what TIPS stood for and snatched my bag out of my servers hand and left. This place fucking sucks and I tell everyone I meet not to eat there. I'm glad others are pointing out what a shitty place this is. I'm surprised they are still in business. 

Clint Jahn
Clint Jahn

Food is poorly executed, either bland or tasting off, and the place is far too crowded. Oh, and a friend of mine left her jacket there and instead of putting it in lost and found one of the servers decided to keep it for herself.

Jennifer Williams-Cherry
Jennifer Williams-Cherry

The staff are the rudest in the area. Have had to walk out so I have no idea how the food tastes

Ellen Kessler
Ellen Kessler

Yes. Food in general is bland and the place is too noisy. Last time I was there I resorted to ear plugs.

Emily Langley
Emily Langley

Not so much...been a vegetarian for 25 years and have more energy now than when I ate meat. Energy is about lifestyle and body chemistry...meat-eaters eat way more protein than they need. I know I get it right everyday as I pay attention.

Emily Langley
Emily Langley

Gosh, I adore that place and find the service delightful. They are very busy and the wait is hard, but beyond that...I'm all good with WC. The food/service is slow because they cook it rather than heating up packaged stuff as so many places do. It would be nice if it was faster, but eating dinner out with friends who cares if its slow, its great for hanging out!

Erik Keith
Erik Keith

Stopped going after seeing a mouse running out of the kitchen.. Food is also very subpar

Ryan Moehring
Ryan Moehring

When you have places like Masala for amazing Indian veg food that is full of flavor, who has time for their faux-hippy nonsense?

bodawgs5
bodawgs5

I actually don't care if you guys agree with me I wasn't making a post for you to agree with me. I make great vegan food but when I ate at WC I was sick for three days with food born illness. All of you missed the point of my post and I no longer work in Colorado so forgive me for wanting everyone to get along and be able to be friendly.

Ellen Kessler
Ellen Kessler

Yes. I'm vegan and there is plenty to choose from. However most of it is tasteless. Anytime I can say that I 'm a better cook, you know there is something seriously wrong. And the noise level reached the point on my last visit that I had to put on earplugs (usually reserved for my rides on Light Rail).

kesslereb
kesslereb

I've given WaterCourse too many tries. I'm not a cook but when I can say my food is tastier than theirs, you know something is wrong. And the noise level can be so extreme, I had to wear earplugs the last time I was there.

Never again. Besides, I've discovered Tarasco at 470 South Federal and the brand new Lotus Vegetarian Chinese restaurant a few blocks south of Tarasco.

Star Stepping
Star Stepping

raw food restaurants please..Last time to watercourse food was disappointing..wont go back..

Patricia Sparrow
Patricia Sparrow

Every time I have been there the food was tasteless and land and the service was atrocious so I quit going. There are so many great restaurants that have good vegetarian options, I just don't bother with Watercourse or City O City anymore.

onebigatomicbore
onebigatomicbore

I don't know what all of you haters are talking about. I've been eating at Watercourse since it was over on 13th. Since then, Watercourse has evolved from veggie diner food to a genuinely unique and high-quality restaurant. And despite how many times I've been there, I still love going back. My food is always fantastic, and the table service is usually good. Sure I've had a slow server once in awhile (say, when the kitchen is backed up), but I've never experienced anything that would suggest that Watercourse has markedly worse service than any other restaurant its size.

I guess it is human nature to be more prone to speak up when you dislike something (rather than when you are pleased). For the uninitiated, I recommend Watercourse highly. I recommend the polenta florentine, enchiladas (much different than you would expect), seitan wings, and one of their amazing cakes.

FrEbird
FrEbird

Half of the everything that is served is russet potatoes. Vegetables, rice, and pasta are routinely served unsalted. Tofu is fried without being pressed which is the equivalent of boiling it. As of a few years ago the peanut sauce was made with soy sauce, peanut butter, and nothing else. No one finished their plate or ordered it twice. Good luck Rachel Kesley!

Debbi2
Debbi2

I've eaten there several times and never had a dish that was served above luke warm temperature. Would not go back.

Jennipher Cunningham
Jennipher Cunningham

Yeah I liked the food- although I was wanting some meat.. I was there to meet someone. I found the service terrible and slooooooooooow. They totally forgot about us and we had to chase someone down just to pay for our meal.

Alison Burton
Alison Burton

I like their food... maybe the days I've gone they had fresh veggies... idk but the spring rolls or whatever they're called are delish!

Val Weitz
Val Weitz

If any "regular" non vegetarian restaurant had food and service as bad as WC, they would have been out of business. There is no excuse for being served wilty starting to spoil veggies. Good thing they dont have meat here cus they woild have killed someone by now.

abenjay
abenjay

I agree with the comment that many "old standards" there (I'm vegan and it's a favorite place no matter what...) are getting, well, kind of old... Not made perhaps with the flair (and care?) I so often find in the far more delicious, changing menu, which offers really superb entrees most of the time. Their deserts are among the best I've had anywhere in the world, vegan (or years ago, not), and the people who work there are fantastic! If they'd just freshen up the core menu, it would be in my view, a spectacular place, not just a great one...

Sean Post
Sean Post

They're not lazy, they have no energy because they DON'T EAT MEAT!

bodawgs5
bodawgs5

I think you missed the point of my post but good luck to you... and by the way my customers love my vegetarian options better than any other vegetarian options they have had of the same items and I don't do that good of a job because I disrespect vegetarians.

Jason Hornyak
Jason Hornyak

they know they can be lazy because they have a stranglehold on the vegetarian market. same with city o city

Sydney Vee
Sydney Vee

I don't go out to eat very often, but I've been to WC & City O's more than most places around because I love their food. Maybe it's just that I tend to order the same couple things when I go out?

marcieguerrero
marcieguerrero

Went there with out of town family - none of us finished our meals. It was bland and in my opinion, very little to choose from that seemed appealing to us - which is strange considering all the vegetarian and vegan recipes out there. I won't be returning, sorry but have to be honest.

Jackie Chiaravalle
Jackie Chiaravalle

My issues there have always been service, so I barely remember the food. It's confusing because sister restaurant City o City gets it right.

bodawgs5
bodawgs5

We shouldn't have to choose between meat and vegetarian restaurants. People want to eat with friends and family and not everyone in the group is one or the other. Meat restaurants tend to ignore veggie people or insult them by sticking a couple of token items on the menu. Veggie restaurants are snotty to meat eaters and treat them like they probably get treated in meat eater restaurants. Listen all you restaurant owners, take it from a Chef. Make your menu the best of both. Allow your Chef to provide beautiful applications of both factions of the food world so veggie people and meat people can dine together in peace without either of them feeling insulted by the waitstaff/cooks/Chef's etc.

Nate Mender
Nate Mender

I agree. I gave this place a couple tries because of all the hype, but was disappointed, and even disgusted both times. Can you say slimy fajitas? They just didn't know how to cook veggies. Bad management probably.

mamaroni
mamaroni

 I haven't been to watercourse in quite some time. The one thing i think they got away from is cooking the things that made them great in the beginning.  My favorite was the monti pasta. Sometimes we get too big and we forget those things that made us who we are in the first place. Like for example good customer service, when i come in i want to feel welcomed, not like someone is doing me a favor, i pay for my food just like anybody else. Peace

Mantonat
Mantonat topcommenter

@Erik Keith A sign of good food is when the mice are running into the kitchen.

love.live4music
love.live4music

Their seitan wings are amazing. I literally dream about eating them.

kesslereb
kesslereb

@bodawgs5 I disagree as well. Right now they're a big fish in a little pond. Considering how mediocre they are, why big a little fish in a big pond? They'd be out of business in a heartbeat.

bandmanager007
bandmanager007

@bodawgs5 Sorry, but I disagree on every thing you said.   A lot of people who are vegetarian for moral reasons, do not want to have meat at what should be a vegetarian restaurant.  You want meat....there are plenty of options everywhere....go.   I love the fact that we finally have one place where we go where we don't have to look at a dead carcass on a plate.   I'm sorry you feel that that is snotty, but try being a vegetarian that gets crap from everyone everywhere for not wanting to be a part of that.  I've had to endure going out with friends and co-workers constantly and be insulted for not wanting to contribute to the pain and suffering for some other animal just cause they feel it's ok.  Do you feel that that isn't snotty?   WC....thanks for giving us a choice in a world filled with very little.   Give your food some more flavor and more sauce on your dishes and I think you will have solved what is your only real problem.   Otherwise your food is great and healthy!

onebigatomicbore
onebigatomicbore

@kesslereb @onebigatomicboreThere certainly are, and there are also people who are so fastidious that anything short of telepathic servers and cooks who can give diners precisely what they want down to the garnish (without having to be asked, of course) will elicit a litany of First World problems.

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