Thursday, July 2, 2009

A Vegan Experience at Fressen

Tony and I stumbled upon Fressen last weekend after missing out dinner at Prague (an AWESOME Czech deli on Queen West). A friend had recommended it previously and we decided to stop in and give it a go.

The restaurant is quaint, intimate and very affordable (bonus!). It bodes a tapas menu, $9 a plate, and 4 plates were more than enough to fill us. The mushroom ravioli in tomato sauce was good although not spectacularly unique. We really enjoyed the mixed king and shitake mushroom dish and even more so the asparagus on quinoa. The spinach blini, however, was disappointing. Blini is a yeast-leavened buckwheat pancake. It did not have much taste although the texture was very interesting (almost bouncy, if food can be bouncy); ultimately, the salsa was too citrusy for my liking and I left it unfinished. Our favourite item was actually my drink: Ginger Spin - fresh ginger and apple juice with gin. It had just the right amount of ginger with a touch of apple juice, and was incredibly refreshing on a hot summer day.

I can't say I'm an expert on vegetarian or vegan cuisine, but Fressen was a bit disappointing. We used to frequent a The Coup, a vegan restaurant in Calgary, which we miss dearly and that is really my only basis of comparison. What I liked is that Fressen presents unique flavours not typical of vegetarian fare - fine dining sans meat (yes, totally possible!); however, I expected and prefer simpler and cleaner tastes and found the Fressen menu surprisingly heavy, although I am sure it was fresh and healthy. Just personal preference I guess.

I'd love to hear the thoughts of any vegans/vegetarians out there, since I really cannot claim to know great vegetarian food from bad.

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