Ballyhoo's doesn't seem like an obvious choice for vegan food. The warm patio flanked with bananas is inviting, sure, but the ghastly crab legs that hang as a welcoming banner to their website seems, somewhat less than welcoming.
Push past the obligatory seafood section though and you'll find a whole separate menu of vegan and vegetarian delights like Fried Pink Tomatoes, Vegan Grilled Cheese and Black Bean Soup, Grilled Avocado and a selection of salads that breaches the iceberg and watery tomato protocol.
As we sipped on our Mason jar tumblers of water and pursued the menu we realized those tasty options from the website were nowhere to be found.
"Excuse me, but we thought we saw online that you have vegan options?" I asked the waitress.
"Oh, you're vegan, we have a whole menu for you honey," she beamed, rushing inside to grab a few of the reserved copies for us.
"There aren't a lot of vegan options here in Key Largo but it turns out that our chef here is vegan so that's why we have this whole separate menu," she explained.
We decided to get a few dishes to sample the menu:
The Grilled Cheese with Black Bean Soup
Joe Vs The Volcano Salad
and a Sweet Potato Burger with Jalapeño Jelly
Grilled Mango, Sliced Tomato, Avocado and Noodles are tossed with a Chili Lime Dressing, Fresh Cilantro and Mint and served atop Spinach with a handful of Peanuts and a side of crispy toast.
The Sweet Potato Burger, which is mixed with white beans and tahini was served crispy and warm on a kaiser roll with a spicy Jalapeño Jelly side and a choice of Green Beans, Black Eyed Peas, Mushrooms, Spinach or Fries.
We resisted the Fries.
The Grilled Cheese was the most unique vegan grilled cheese I've yet to experience. Instead of the stringy glue that Daiya can produce or the itchiness that cashew cheese can produce for me, this "cheese" was made of reduced coconut milk and what I assumed was nutritional yeast. Lightly flavored but satisfying in a gooey way that reminded me of childhood Velveta days.
Open Daily 11am - 10pm
97860 Overseas Highway
Key Largo, FL 33037
305 852 0822