When the long-standing Axe shut its doors last year, a lot of West Siders were pretty bummed—but then chef Matthew Kenney swooped in to take over the space, turning the upstairs into a plant-based cooking academy. Sensibility-wise, it doesn’t feel like much has changed—it still has a light, low-key vibe, with a pretty exceptional outdoor seating situation out back—except the menu is understandably, completely vegan. Kenney has a bunch of restaurants across the country under his belt now, which all deal in the same sort of forward-thinking fare, i.e., they do things with veggies and nuts that you don’t typically see anywhere else. They’re known for their aged nut-cheese plate, but we like the things that are closer to their original form, like the really good salads, and the curried cauliflower tacos.

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