Swooning Over ‘The Vegan Queen’

Swooning Over ‘The Vegan Queen’

Planta Queen hits Atlanta’s up and coming spot for fine plant-based dining with an Asian twist.

After 37 years with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and now with the AJT, , Jaffe’s focus is lifestyle, art, dining, fashion, and community events with emphasis on Jewish movers and shakers.

Buckhead Atlanta’s new Planta Queen has a youthful vibe with dragony pizzazz and creative plant-based menu options.
Buckhead Atlanta’s new Planta Queen has a youthful vibe with dragony pizzazz and creative plant-based menu options.

In Atlanta’s dining landscape of niche upon niche of cuisines, Planta Queen is a most welcomed addition, “planted” in the heart of the Buckhead Village District.

Touting “tuna out of pressed ahi watermelon to cheesecake without the cheese,” Planta Queen, bills itself as premier vegan and opened in fall 2023. The 10 location “Plantas” are run by founder Steven Salm, a Toronto native by way of New York where he became a trendsetting foodie and philanthropist.

Their motto of “dining as it should be, an unguilty pleasure,” is not entirely accurate as some options are rich in coconut fats and calories; and the first “Wok” item is indeed plant-based, but coated and fried versus stir fried, but there are sufficient satisfying choices to dance around that.

The Unagi Eggplant Nigiri and watermelon-based spicy tuna roll were table favorites. A tall colorful mojito awaits.

Note that the sister restaurant, Planta, has been open on Inman Park’s Krog Street since June with a similar, but not identical menu. Where Planta Queen leans Asian, Planta has additional pizza and some American fare.

Both locations feature creative cocktails like a kombucha mojitos, and Herb Your Enthusiasm with Thai chili-infused tequila, lime, pineapple, mint, and basil, and several au currant non-alcoholic choices like Spicy Not A Rita, Miso Mango Sour, Cucumber Mule and Singapore Spritz with roots divino, certainly creating curiosity for elevated palettes.

There are also cold pressed juices, beer, cider, tonics, sake, “bubbles,” and wines, some of which are noted as low alcohol and “skin contacted.” An ambitious list to be sure.

The parking in the west lot elevator (just off Pharr Road) popped right up within steps of Planta Queen.

The establishment’s youthful vibe matched its music and décor with twisted dragons, arched ceiling, and a glowing bar of coordinated triangles. Half the restaurant with 28 tables can be rented out for private parties.

The ebony stone earth ware was well matched with black utensils. The terra cotta banquettes along the wall is primo seating.

The Queen Caesar was kale based with bacon made from mushrooms with a smoky flair.

What we had

Unagi Eggplant Nigiri — like “butta” melt in your mouth texture in umami heaven (two pieces, $6.25)
Spicy tuna hand roll — Ahi tuna was the “tuna” and, yes, they pulled it off! Plus, avocado and toasted coconut ($7.25).

Chilled and Raw
Queen Caesar Salad — green papaya, kale, mushroom bacon, almond parmesan, yuba crisp was even better the next day leftovers since the kale stood the test of time ($15.75).

Entrees were rich and filling: General D’s Cauliflower and Shaved Black Truffles with Udon noodles.

Wok & Noodles
General D’s Cauliflower — tofu, shishito peppers, pineapple, sesame, sweet chili. The flavors were all right, but would have been a better dish stir fried versus tempura deep fried, which was not noted on the menu ($20.75).

Udon Noodles
Truffle mushroom cream shaved black truffles — For those wanting a true gourmet experience, this is a rich indulgence best shared to balance the richness ($25.50).

Matcha cheesecake — coconut-based cream cheese, coconut whipped cream, berry compote. The olivey-lime green hue made it campy and tart enough to take on the tea ($14).
Bubble Waffle Taro — (a root vegetable used as a staple in Africa and South Asian cuisines) ice cream, rice crunch, black sesame caramel, strawberry. Don’t expect super sweetness. We found the waffle to be a bit doughy, playing second fiddle to the macerated strawberries ($15);
A better dessert choice here would be the Brownie Sundae with salted peanuts.

Plenty to order for next visit

Torched and Pressed: avocado, miso truffle glaze
Avocado Lime Tartar: beetroot tuna, capers, pine nuts, citrus soy, sesame, cilantro

Desserts were a colorful bounty. Foreground matcha tea cheesecake. Waffle treat with macerated strawberries (rear) and taro ice cream.

Pad Thai Slaw: kelp noodles, green papaya, lemongrass, cilantro, peanut sauce
Bang Bang Broccoli with sweet chili
1000 Layer Crispy Potatoes with caviar
Japanese Sweet Potatoes
Cold Sesame Peanut Noodles
Spinach Shitake Dumplings (remember no eggs!)
Dan Dan Noodles: Szechuan kamut, sesame, cilantro, coconut milk

Note: Items are clearly labeled for allergies, nuts, celiac, soy, gluten.
Verdict: Ten thumbs up! Lumberjack manly men who like their plates mooing have to suspend disbelief and give this queen a try. Feel young, feel adventurous, know that someone thought about this food’s preparation. And don’t worry about what’s not kosher.

Planta Queen is open seven days a week at 3013 Bolling Way. Weekdays start at 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday brunch, and happy hour are also options. 404-905-1343.

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