Saturday, November 6, 2010

Vegan MoFo and True Bistro

Oh Vegan MoFo how I love you. I have so many ideas for you in the upcoming days and weeks, I hope I can find the time to cook it all and blog about it. Although another day not having to cook anything was great!

The Boston Vegetarian Society often hosts vegan dinners at various vegan and vegetarian restaurants all over the metro Boston area. For the event today they were invited to attend a soft opening of a new all vegan restaurant in Somerville with the entire menu 50% off. True Bistro is an upper scale all vegan restaurant located in Teele Square. I say 'upper' because it's not super expensive and I didn't get the vibe that it is going to be a fancy shmancy place where you would feel uncomfortable wearing jeans and a hoodie while everyone else is in much less casual clothes. The restaurants official opening is Tuesday November 9 so I jumped at the chance to be able try it out before the general public, especially only having to pay half price!

Jeremy and I got there around 11:15 in the morning(they were only open from 11-2 today for the BVS event) and were able to choose where we wanted to sit as there were only a few other people there before us. I have only been to a very small amount of BVS events so we didn't know anyone other than Evelyn who runs all of the events and we were a little antisocial(aka cranky because we were starving and when I say we, I mean me) and sat at an empty 4 person table. The space itself looks like it is only able to accommodate about 30 patrons at a time and had a very clean, modern, minimalist design. The walls were painted a very light gray, all of the tables and chairs were black and there was some black and white artwork on the walls. I think it may have been a photograph but I can't remember. In the windows were a few awesome planters with what looked like some ornamental grass with this huge thing in the middle. I'm not sure that the "thing" was but from where I was sitting(not close to a window) it looked like a big artichoke.

While the small staff was very friendly you could tell they were a little nervous and overwhelmed. We did have to ask a few times for things that had been forgotten, like my salad which never came so I got it to go, and the staff sometimes had to go back into the kitchen to ask about a menu item for us or another party. They were all very sweet, willing and apologetic. The somewhat chaotic service definitely did not detract from the experience and will not prevent me from going back in the future. It was the first day they were serving actual paying customers so of course there will be questions and the occasional forgotten item. I am very confident that once they are open to the public and they get into the hang of things, service will be excellent. Ok, now to the good stuff....

The food. Wow. What the service lacked(which really, considering it was their first day ever, wasn't a whole lot) the food certainly made up for 100 times over. The menu isn't very extensive but it does have some excellent choices. Choices I had been agonizing over since I received the email about the event on Thursday.

I started with a pot of tea and it came out in a plain, yet adorable little pot with a strainer for my cup because it was loose leaf and a small bowl of sugar. I have no idea what kind of tea it was, all I know is that it was decaf. I wish I had asked now because it was awesome.

To start I ordered the Soup du jour which was Cream of Parsnip soup with cracked black pepper and an oregano oil drizzle. It was so creamy and perfectly seasoned that I would've had a few more bowls if I could have. The oil drizzle on top really did take the flavors to a whole 'nother level as well. I am going to have dreams about that soup.

As my soup was came out so did Jeremy's salad. He ordered the Local mesclun greens and he loved it. I took one bite of it and other than the fact that it had green olives in it(I hate them) it was a great salad. The whole Marcona almonds were a great touch because they are much more tender than their standard grocery store counterparts. The dressing was a lemon-caper vinaigrette which definitely had a really light, refreshing flavor. I definitely tasted the citrus but not the caper, then again, I did only take one bite. I was trying my hardest not to get full since I still had my own salad and entree coming.

Next came our entrees. I ordered the True's seitan cheeseburger which has really inspired me to finally try my hand at making my own seitan. Something I have been putting off for quite awhile now but it's gonna happen, soon. The flavor of the "burger" itself was almost like a barbecue sauce but much lighter and not saucy at all. Topped with avocado, sauteed mushrooms and melted Daiya, I really was in heaven. I think there were also some roasted red peppers tucked inside. I only ate half of it because I was still hoping that I would actually get my salad "in just a sec" like I was promised a few times. I'm almost glad they forgot about my salad because after eating only half my sandwich, half of the fries(which were delicious by the way), a bowl of soup and a pot of tea I really didn't have much room left for anything else.The bread looks a little extra toasted in a few spots in the picture below, but they actually gave the bread a better flavor, not burnt tasting at all.

J got the Mesquite burger and I'm really not still sure what the burger was made of, but it was pretty damn good. His sandwich had pickled red onion(yum), lettuce, tomato and aoili. I only took one small bite of it but like I said, it was pretty damn good. I'd still choose my sandwich over his anytime though.

After we were done eating, we were still waiting for my salad and since I was having my leftover half sandwich wrapped up I asked them to do the same with my salad. I got the Baby arugula salad which had pomegranate, green apple, a vegan version of queso fresco and a lime-cumin vinaigrette. I finally just ate the salad, 10 hours later but I am dead serious when I say this is the best salad I have had since I gave up cheese. I was a goat cheese junkie and that is what held me back from going vegan for awhile. I couldn't imagine a salad without it. The "queso fresco" on this salad was amazing. It had a really creamy, mild taste and texture while having a similar tanginess to goat cheese. I have no idea what it is made of but I need to find out so I can try and recreate it in my kitchen. If I can figure it out I will be one happy vegan. This salad was so good that I am going to give you two pictures of it.

All in all, even with somewhat chaotic service, I really can't wait to go back to try some of the other items on the menu and maybe ask some questions to find out what is in that queso. Meals like this make being vegan more awesome than it already is!

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