A First Taste of Grasslands Restaurant Toronto – Vegan Fine Dining is back

Read my updated review here. Once upon a time there was Fressen, and it was okay, but then it closed at the end of last year and we were all lamenting the end of all vegan fine dining in Toronto. But before we could get too sad, Fressen’s owner,  Stephan Gardener, promised that a new revived restaurant would replace it in a few months, and this week, Fressen was reborn, in a new incarnation. RIP Fressen,  and welcome Grasslands! We went on Day Two (03/28/2013) with a troupe of hungry vegans, and ready to try new and exciting things. On first glance it looked a lot like the old menu, but then there were several delightful differences. As promised there was a much more substantial cocktail menu, and a different dessert (though our server assured us more options were coming – as this was just the beginning.) “Bar Snax,”  has lots of fun and interesting treats like sliders, mezze plate (with kibbeh, tapenade, hummus, olives, etc), and even popcorn chicken (just to name a few.) It’s nice to know that they’re aiming to keep serving these items until 12 or 1 am. I love what they’ve done with the interior, so many positive changes. The bar at the front, with a small lounge area, in addition to a large collection of dining tables. I think they keyword here is more – more open and spacious, more interior lighting, and more effective use of the space they have available. It’s especially nice to…

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Gastronomic Adventures – Fressen and BarChef

It’s been non-stop exciting eating lately. A combination of long workdays, family visiting from out of town, curiosity about new places, and over all, just general laziness has contributed to our recent culinary adventures. I’m aiming to try and work in some home cooking soon. I miss making meals, but once I get home, I’m just… tired. Excuses excuses. I’m lazy, the end. Anyway, we went to Fressen and BarChef last Friday, and collectively it was just wonderful. amazing. and a string of other various positive adjectives. Yesterday we wandered into Fressen (478 Queen Steet W, Toronto) at 6:30 and from what I could tell, were the last non-reservation to sit down. We sat near the door and watched them turn several people away. Lucky us. Like many people, I’ve sort of been meh-fressen lately (where lately = almost a year), but this visit turned that around (at least a little bit.) Our server was friendly. This isn’t exactly a common experience dining in Toronto, so it’s important. Yes. Friendly. We started with very awesome drinks (this may have aided the rest of the meal), vegan Ceasar. Absolutely delicious. Spicy, salty, with a good rim. JC, having had real ceasars before (unlike me) said that it “was a good ceasar, but it wasn’t great”. I have no point of comparison, so to me it was just a great drink. We ordered the Eggplant Manacotti and Spinach Blini as our appetizers. The eggplant manacotti was an easy favourite. Thinly sliced seared eggplant turned into…

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Fressen – The last night to take advantage of the Veggielicious special.

I was looking forward to visiting Fressen(78 Queen Street West, Toronto) while they were participating in the Veggielicious promo with the TVA. It’s hard to believe how quickly April passed by, all of a sudden we arrived at the last day to try it out at Fressen, since they only participated in Veggielicious on slower days: Sunday thru Thursday. Fressen was one of the first restaurants I tried when I arrived in Toronto last year, still fresh on my high from San Francisco’s Millennium vegan fine dining possibilities, I had to try Toronto’s version. It was different, but I was still very impressed with the dishes they had come up with. This time was no exception. The Veggielicious special was a small soup of the day, and side of dips with fresh house made bread and choice of pasta for $17.  My dining companion and I started with a bottle of Buenas Ondas organic malbec and  the seared king, button and shiitake mushroom appetizer (not part of veggielicious, but too yummy to pass up.) The mushrooms were laying on a bed of cold wilted sesame spinach with a tart tamari flavoured garlic sauce. A great start to a lovely evening. Next it was time for the soup course. I was pleasantly surprised that the spiral detail caused the sweet potato soup to be just a touch spicy (I imagine it was sriracha). I ordered the spicy lentil balls and the baba ghannouj (since it wasn’t on the menu I had to try it). The spicy…

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Toronto: Fressen

I finally did what I came to Toronto for a couple of days ago and that evening a friend and I went to Fressen (478 Queen Street West,) a fine dining kind of vegan restaurant. It was rated one of the hippest vegetarian eateries in North America by VegNews and I can see why, it was very hip, and looked like a great place to go on a date. We parked in the back, and I loved the little mural on the back of the restaurant (probably because it features a cat,) in addition to the other graffiti and wall art in the alleyway. When we walked in the restaurant was mostly empty, but we lucked out because shortly after we sat down it filled up. It’s too easy to get overwhelmed with options at entirely vegan restaurants, the limitations imposed when there are things I just will not eat on other menus make it so much easier to choose something. This menu was no different. There are three sections, appetizers, tapas, and entries, so we just ordered something from each category. The assorted olive plate was delicious, though I don’t think I’ve met an olive plate I didn’t like. One of the green ones tasted as though it were soaked in vermooth, but that could have just been me. There were pimento stuffed ones, and my favourite as usual were the kalamata’s. Plum and vodka cold soup. I forgot to ask what kind of plum it was, but it…

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