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How much do you think a single slice of watermelon should cost? 50 cents? A dollar? Maybe even a few bucks if it’s soaked in booze like the one Robert De Niro used to clandestinely drink in front of Al Pacino in The Irishman?
Well, if you’re headed to TGI Fridays in the UK, the answer is seventeen dollars (£12.99). Why? Because it’s not just a regular slice of watermelon, but a “vegan watermelon steak.” Ok, sure.
According to VegNews, TGI Fridays decided that just because some people are going vegan in January doesn’t mean they should miss out on the joys of casual dining in a tchotchke-laden setting.
WATCH: How to Make Grilled Watermelon
“We’re really excited about the new vegan steak because it’s unique to us here at TGI Fridays. We have taken a watermelon and made it into a main course,” TGI Fridays Head Development Chef Terry McDowell said. “Most people think of watermelon as a sweet dish, but we have flipped that on its head. It is full of flavor and perfect for Veganuary and those who want to try something different.”
To turn watermelon into a main course that’s magically worth $17, TGI Fridays chargrills each slice, marinating it in savory spices and some sriracha seasoning, adding a “cooling avocado sauce” and their “Legendary glaze” on the side. The end result is what McDowell describes as “a dish [with] savory, sweet, and spicy notes [and] a juicy center that cuts like a sirloin steak.” It’s then paired with roasted vegetables and french fries, since even the most pretentious vegans can admit that fries are delicious.
Believe it or not, this isn’t the first time a restaurant has tried to transform a watermelon into a steakhouse-style entree. Manhattan-based Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives alumnus Ducks Eatery made waves in 2018 with a watermelon steak of its own. But its appearance on TGI Fridays menus throughout the UK would seem to mark its first appearance at a widespread chain restaurant.
As much as vegans are the target of (occasionally warranted) criticism, a plant-based diet is admirable for ethical, environmental, and nutritional reasons. The least the world could do is let vegans approximate the joy of an excellent steakhouse dinner. After all, you have to admit that a steak made out of watermelon is a hell of a lot more normal than a carrot made out of meat.