|Welcome to Kaya's, mon!|
|A whole mess of buffet on a Sunday morning.|
|Salad, salad, salad!|
|Iphone blurry buffet! Kara was super excited to be at Kaya's! ;)|
I’ve been going to Kaya’s Kitchen long enough to remember when it wasn’t Kaya’s Kitchen (it used to be Veggie Works – different owners) and when it didn’t have it’s current rasta vibe. But through name and ambiance changes, one thing has remained – the food is good.
Kaya’s is homestyle, snuggle up comfort food. It’s the kind of place where you can order almost anything on the menu and not be disappointed. I’m the type that once I find one thing on a menu that I like I stick to the safety of that dish. But at Kaya’s I’ve always felt comfortable ordering something new – with little fear that I would end up with something I didn’t want. My orders have ranged from the Cajun tofu salad (light, but filling) to the South Street Philly cheese steak (seriously best veg cheese steak I’ve had outside of Gourmet to Go in Philly) to the enchiladas (I’m drooling just thinking about them!!). Any Kaya’s regular will tell you, though, that the absolute hands-down winner is on the app side of the menu. The “Kaya’s Combo” is like a “best of” collage of appetizers. Country fried nuggets, karma wings, tempeh wings, Mississippi ribs, potato salad, and dipping sauces – it’s a serious faux-meat wonderland. The menu says it’s a “sharing size” plate – but seriously, I’m not sharing! I have been known to order this app as my entrée!
Sundays are vegan buffet day at Kaya’s. This past Sunday my husband and I went on our very first alone date in almost 18 months (we have an 18 month old… that says it all!) to celebrate his birthday. We had never been there on a buffet Sunday, so we weren’t really sure what to expect. For the price (around $16) it was a pretty decent spread: salads with choice of three dressings, four different components for an entrée, and then basically everything you would need to put the combo app together, plus vegan mac ‘n cheese. I felt seriously sick from over-eating when I was done.
I have only two tiny complaints – and I promise they are small. One thing that bothered me was that there wasn’t any filler starch. The “main” dishes were spicy gluten/tofu kabobs, a jambalaya of sorts, pierogies, and a braised kale. I felt like I really needed some rice, or mashed potatoes, or something. My other complaint is that I felt like there wasn’t any cohesion in these dishes. Like none of them went together. I tried to braised kale (which had a very asian-y flare) with the kabobs, and, well, they just didn’t go together. But don’t get me wrong, as separate items they were delicious. But like I said, I just didn’t see how they went together.
With that said, I would always recommend Kaya’s Kitchen – especially to veg peeps who are dining with non-veg peeps. There are so many dishes to impress even the most hard core carnivore. So if you’re ever on the Jersey Shore (the real Jersey Shore, not the Snookified version!), head on down to Kaya’s Kitchen in Belmar.
817 Belmar Plaza
Belmar, New Jersey 07719