Zest Cafe's vegetarian and vegan selection is small but mighty

You can't expect every restaurant to cater to your specific dietary needs, which is why we're always looking for crossover venues that have hidden gems on the menu. Zest Cafe in Lakewood is one such spot. Although it's labeled a "vegan/vegetarian" restaurant on Foursquare, the menu lists only a handful of veggie-friendly dishes. But those that are there are perfectly prepared and flavorful.

See also: - The Garden blooms with delicious vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free food - Eden is a retreat for plant-eaters and carnivores alike - Mercury Cafe is a Five Points haven for veggie diners

The cafe also does a Sunday brunch spread, and last week saw a steady stream of diners coming in and out, keeping the staff busy: a couple of colleagues talking work in the corner, a family breakfast with multiple generations, couples stealing some time together on a Sunday. But the kitchen turned everything out rapidly, keeping everything ticking smoothly.

Pictured above is the vegetarian Benedict -- sourdough bread topped with spinach, tomato, avocado, eggs and a generous dollop of fresh-made Hollandaise served with breakfast potatoes. Obviously, it's not vegan (in fact, nothing on the brunch menu is), and the description reads much like that of countless vegetarian Benedicts across the city. What makes this one special, though, is how beautifully it's prepared: The potatoes are sprinkled with just enough dill to add a fresh bite to the crisp brown skins, the fluffy egg whites surround liquid gold yolks, the ingredients underneath the eggs are fresh, and the creamy Hollandaise sets everything else off. If your diet allows for eggs, it's worth driving to Lakewood to try this.

And also note that there are more vegan options on the dinner menu, including vegetarian shepherd's pie, roasted vegetable salad and more.

Zest is open daily except for Mondays; visit www.zestdenvercafe.com to see a menu.

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