"Steak" is the featured entree at Charleston Grill's annual vegetable-centric dinner, scheduled for Aug. 13.
Cauliflower steak -- which has been a high-end restaurant mainstay for the last two years -- will be served alongside truffled potatoes, spinach and baby carrots. Other dishes on the Vegstock 2014 menu include an avocado crudo; zucchini noodles with avocado alfredo and succotash pot pie.
One of the first cauliflower steaks to gain national recognition was dreamed up by Los Angeles' Superba Snack Bar: Tasting Table ran a recipe for its "T-bone" in September 2012. "It's a dish that covers all points on the taste spectrum -- sweet, salty, herbal, plus the vegetal base and slight funk of the cauliflower itself," L.A. Weekly food critic Besha Rodell raved in her write-up for the paper's annual "100 Favorite Dishes" list.
Within months, the cut was omnipresent in major cities, with New York Magazine in February 2013 chronicling five local examples, including a sliced and plancha-griddled whole head dressed with garlic-anchovy sauce. In Charleston, Anson served an estimable version of the split crucifer before a Christmas Eve fire forced the restaurant to suspend operations.
Although the dish now commands its own Pinterest page, controversy still swirls over whether it's appropriate to liken a plant to animal flesh. "We love vegetarian, but we love it for what it is -- not for what it isn't," the Huffington Post complained earlier this year.
Dan Barber, who was widely praised for his cauliflower, beet and parsnip steaks, told New York Magazine he was inclined to side with the term's detractors: "I find more and more I'm not trying to get the thing to taste like meat. I've evolved."
Tickets to Charleston Grill's three-course vegetable supper are $90, and include wine pairings. For reservations, call 577-4522.