As someone who grew up as a vegetarian, and who often has visiting family members who are vegetarians, I'm always on the lookout for interesting new options. Recent on-line menu browsing has turned up some newish ideas on local menus.
Note: Call to confirm availability of menu items, as menus at these restaurants tend to change.
Chefs seem to be getting a little more comfortable with/excited about working with tofu.
At Point Brugge there a new grilled tofu bahn mi, "made with locally produced ginger soy tofu on a toasted baguette with cucumber jalapeno relish, napa cabbage, carrots and basil mayo" ($8.50). At Kaya, a new assortment of tacos included jerked tofu served on Reyna's flour tortillas with avocado, cabbage slaw, cilantro cream sauce, and cilantro ($13, 3 tacos)
A new menu item at Toast! Kitchen and Wine Bar reminds me a little bit of a Top Chef winning dish from a few season's ago (Remember Richard and Dale's tofu that envies beef?). Here, smoked tofu with a mushroom crust, parsnip puree and carrot sauce is genuinely vegetarian ($15).
Some chefs are even moving beyond tofu to work with other soy-based meat substitutes, like seitan. At Le Pommier the spring menu includes sauteed house-made seitan with spring vegetables, white wine and basil ragout with royer mountain cheese ($18). There's also a delicious-sounding vegetarian appetizer -- a vegetarian spring roll with snow pea, daikon radish, cucumber, cilantro, basil and fresh chevre with parsley-lemon sauce ($9.50).
Eggs are another great vegetarian (though not vegan) protein that restaurants don't always get as creative with as they might. At Sonoma Grille, there are several omelet options on the lunch menu, including the exciting Indonesian potato omelet with red chile, scallion, mung bean sprouts, cilantro and Indonesian curry potatoes ($10).