We’ve been hanging out with a vegan a lot lately, which means we’ve been eating a lot of vegan food, and while we’ve mostly been down with that, it has put a serious damper on our brunch game. Eating vegan means no eggs benedict. No omelets. And pancakes have to be eggless and dairyless. What’s a brunch lover to do? Whither can we brunch?!
Luckily, we found out Land of Kush (840 N. Eutaw St.,  225-5874, thelandofkush.com) has a Sunday brunch platter ($8.99). It’s the only breakfast-y thing on the menu, but it was enough to soothe our brunch-starved soul, so we ventured out to the vegan soul-food joint on a recent Sunday afternoon.
Obviously we ordered the platter, which came with two gluten-free pancakes (plain, blueberry, strawberry, or banana were all options presented to us—we went with banana) and the pick of two sides from seitan scramble, potatoes, and vegan sausage. We chose the potatoes and the sausage, and also ordered the liver detox juice ($5.99 for 16 ounces) to soothe the damage we’d done our liver the night before.
The juice, a mix of kale, carrot, apple, and pineapple, was pretty mild tasting in a good way, with mostly the flavors of the carrot and apple coming through. We sipped on that and the delightfully spicy ginger spice drink ($2.49 for 16 ounces, $3.49 for 24 ounces) that our companion had ordered as we waited for our food and observed others coming in and out of the counter-service restaurant (many of them also ordered the liver detox juice, which made us feel less ashamed about ordering a juice whose name basically announces your hangover for you).
The banana pancakes had just the right amount of cinnamon mixed into the batter, with slices of banana scattered throughout. Usually we prefer to have mashed banana mixed into the batter, but there were enough banana slices packed into the pancakes that we didn’t feel deprived of banana flavor. The soy sausage didn’t quite have the texture of the meaty original, which we were OK with, but we did wish it had a bit more spice to it. And the potatoes could have used a little more salt, but otherwise they made for a solid starchy side, with sauteed peppers and onions mixed in.
Surprisingly, the real winner of the meal were the vegan crab cakes (two cakes for $6.49) that our companion, who doesn’t share our dedication to the “br” half of brunch, ordered. It tasted like a regular delicious crustacean cake, albeit one with plenty of filling mixed in with the “meat.” If you’re really paying close attention you can tell the texture of the meat isn’t quite the same as crab and that the creamy filling isn’t dairy, but it’s all pretty damn impressively close, and it was perfectly grilled with a crispy exterior.
Our companion ordered baked mac and cheese and a cucumber and tomato salad as the two sides that came with the crab cakes (which are only available on the weekend). The vegan “cheese” tasted delightfully rich, with a flavor we couldn’t quite identify—our friendly neighborhood vegan, being a connoisseur of such things, informed us that the cheese was heavy on the nutritional yeast.
All in all, The Land of Kush made for a delicious Sunday brunch that even an omnivore can love—and we’ll definitely be going back to marvel over those vegan crab cakes some more.