My take (and comment) on it:
I know where you’re coming from – I’m mostly vegetarian myself and am always looking for vegetarian options at normal restaurants.
Should non-vegetarians review vegetarian restaurants? Absolutely. But as with every food style, you need to know what to expect before going in, or you will be guaranteed to have the wrong experience. That goes for all food cultures, not just vegetarian. A reviewer who does not do this is just a bad reviewer.
Some things to consider:
- If the restaurant doesn’t specialise in meat substitute dishes, there is no reason to look for them – just as much as a sushi bar won’t specialize in noodle dishes. There are a lot of meals that don’t need meat or a substitute to be complete!
- In the same vein, a lot of dishes won’t follow the same pattern as meat dishes – meat, a side of carbohydrates and a side of greens. Instead, expect more pasta dishes, curry pots and mixed sampler dishes.
- Continuing the pattern, this means you should expect a fair share of oriental dishes. If you just want a burger, this may not be the place for you.
- To any regular meat eater, a lot of vegetarian food may seem bland the first time around. I have noticed that people who are eating vegetable-based dishes regularly for a certain time (even without giving up meat!) develop a more acute sense of taste for vegetables and other “bland” food, and an adverse reaction to the taste of glutamate (“meaty” taste). That may be a thing to consider, although lack of meat does NOT mean that the food should lack in taste, as sadly some vegetarian restaurants I have visited seem to think!
When I first tried Japanese food, I didn’t like it very much. After a while, I got used to the more delicate tastes and smells of the food, and although I still don’t agree with all of the things the Japanese cuisine has to offer, I can at least allow myself to say that I could review a Sushi restaurant, although maybe not a more advanced Japanese restaurant. I did not grow up with the kitchen, nor do I claim to understand the finer details of the Japanese food culture. Still, I have eaten at and compared several restaurants now and have formed opinions about what tastes good and what doesn’t. I don’t need to be Japanese to do that. It is probably very similar with vegetarian restaurants.
I have reviewed restaurants for their vegetarian options in the past, and reviewing vegetarian restaurants for their appeal to non-vegetarians is a good idea! The bias that vegetarian food is bland fare for crazy animal rights activists has to fall. Why can’t we all enjoy good food together?