The best things to eat at the new Whole Foods

Whether you're vegan or a porkoholic, there's lots to choose from at the four independently run kiosks at the new Whole Foods Market.

My favorite bites from each are in my order of preference.


Camera icon ED HILLE / Staff Photographer
The spicy shakshouka from Dizengoff.

With a talented young chef in Elaine Gardner turning out toppings for the signature hummus, this stand consistently produces the most restaurant-like variety. I loved Gardner's takes on chicken - ground and scented with Yemenite hawaij spice and pickles, or dusted with cuminy shabazzi and braised with apricots and carrots. A fork-tender brisket was sparked with crispy onions and pickled serrano heat. The hummus is available by the pint ($9) for an easy take-home hit, with six pitas for $6. Don't miss this oft-overlooked gem: a hot pan of spicy shakshouka tomato stew, baked-in-the-oven eggs, and a wedge of focaccia.

Cheu Noodle Bar

Camera icon ED HILLE / Staff Photographer
The ramen from Cheu.

Cheu serves an abridged version of its 10th Street menu with some rock-solid classics. The pork-and-miso ramen is as close as Cheu gets to traditional, with well-cooked, snappy noodles and a lip-glazing broth that's actually more flavorful than the original, due to Whole Foods' requirement for better quality base ingredients. The crackle-crusted buttermilk black garlic wings are spot on - tender and sticky sweet. When feeling virtuous, I'll go vegan for the coconut-curried noodles with squash and a dose of spicy peanut sambal. The pepperoni dumplings created exclusively for this stand are pretty much impossible to resist, the pizza-tanged pork zipped up with an orange glaze of chili-sesame oil.

Wiz Kid

Camera icon ED HILLE / Staff Photographer
The vegan cheesesteak from Wiz Kid.

This new project from the team behind Vedge and V Street has promise but feels like a work in progress. I've tasted notable improvements since the launch in the signature sandwich, an excellent vegan "cheesesteak" that melds an umami-boosted mince of wild mushrooms and seitan with caramelized onions and a cheese-sauce-like rutabaga fondue I actually prefer to "real" Whiz. But with just four main courses, two bready sandwiches feels very heavy for what I'd expect to be a veg-focused brand. My surprise favorite items here: the outstanding chopped salad with zesty green goddess dressing, and Jacoby's whimsical hemp brownies with miso-sriracha-glazed peanuts.

Severino Cucina Rustica

The pasta company is very good at making noodles. But as a novice in the restaurant business, it's the weak link in this lineup. While it will appeal to conventional tastes, I found some fresh pasta overcooked, the sauces too heavily sloshed on (the meat-sauce is more like chili than Bolognese). One exception: the cavatelli with sweet fennel sausage was excellent.

- Craig LaBan