The festivities have been non-stop since my actual birthday last Wednesday. A friend from work took me for lunch on on Tuesday (day before my birthday), then my boss took me out on my actaul birthday and JT made a delicious Hawaiian pizza for dinner on Thursday night and Friday and Saturdays we went out for dinner. I haven’t been doing much cooking, so I thought I would blog about the two restaurants JT took me to.
Fressen Restaurant, Vegan Cuisin 478 Queen West, just west of Spadina. Surprisingly this was JT’s suggestion but his response was that he had been consuming a lot of meat so he wanted something else and it’s something new. It’s just west of the really cool strip on Queen West on the North side. It is a long narrow space with contemporary décor – much sleeker than what I might expect a vegan restaurant to be. Service was good and the food was great! We also got some excellent value in their wine selection. The only down side was how quickly the food came out. It’s mainly a sharing/tapas place and we ordered three items which all came out at the same time. It would have been a bit better to space it out more. The portions were perfect for sharing and three courses were plenty for dinner without making you feel stuffed. The presentation was also really good.
The pre-birthday dinner:
Shredded jicima & celery root – marinated in lime, chilies, herbs and hemp oil served on a bed of crispy watercress. This is a refreshing asian-like blend of fresh crisp jicama and celery root. It comes with 2 papadams which were also tasty. We gave this 5/5!
Warm avocado and corn – salsa sandwiched between fluffy spinach blinis accented with pepper purées. This dish was the weakest of the three, mainly due to our personal tastes. Blinis, I thought were small crepes, but in this case they were more like a very soft cookie which tasted very green. The corn and avocado were sweet and creamy but I am not a huge fan of warm avocado. The pepper purées were sweet which was a nice contrast to the spinach. The flavour was OK but it didn’t hit either of us. 3/5
And last but not least, we had Sliced shiitake and crimini mushrooms mixed with shredded spinach in cashew cream wrapped in a filo pastry puff. This was absolutely the best. The flavours were right on (almost like a butter chicken sauce) and the textures were great. JT could not stop eating the sauce. Another 5/5.
They’ve got a pretty limited wine list and what’s kind of odd is that they don’t list the brand, just the country and local area and the type of grape, for example, we ordered Niagara, Ontario unoaked chardonnay for $34. We were pleasantly surpriced when a bottle of Malavoir arrived at our table – this was surprising because restaurants generally tripple the LCBO price on their menus and this bottle is about $21. Now that was a deal. Great food, nice ambiance and great deal on wine. What more can you ask for?
Overall rating: Decor 4/5, service 4/5, food 4/5 and Value 4/5.