Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Veg Out : Tuesday's Vegan Tasting Menu at Meritage

We had just gotten Wedding Week facials at Moko Salon, where skin expert Kelley had given us a gift of Pratima Love Massage Oil.  Some vegan food magic was well in order. We had a reservation at Meritage for the Tuesday Vegan Food Tasting and began our walk there.

The tasting menu far exceeded my expectations (sometimes I want a chef to make the clouds part and burn bright little food memories into my head that leave me writhing in the sheets for days with a lustful fever). Not only did I find each course to be well in tune with the next, the plates stood out with charismatic saucery and outspoken vegetables.

I've had some crazy veggie tastings that drifted long on into the night and I thought the pace and amount of food were much more reasonable at Meritage. The early courses came quickly and then things slowed down, but we were enjoying ourselves. Dessert did take a bit longer than it should have. Overall, it was such a fantastic deal ($35 for four courses) and a strong execution for their first time.  There was a vegan rose priced at $29 a bottle as the wine special.

Amuse: Vegetable tartlette with star anise tomato chutney

Crunchy, vibrant, palate-prepping. This was a swell hello.

First Course: Heirloom tomato salad, cucumber granita, pickled red onion, Thai basil emulsion, crispy rice cracker

You can't argue with a healthy, lightly salted tomato and a better take on basil as an emulsion. Slurp the granita before it melts on you.

Second Course: Grilled Japanese eggplant, salt baked fingerling potatoes, gingered carrot puree

The eggplant and potatoes were a pleasure, but it was the carrot puree and crispy chickpeas that were the hero of this dish

Third Course: Mushroom lentil sticky rice in banana leaf
shallot confit, fricasse of asparagus and royal trumpet mushrooms

Why didn't I reserve more of my appetite for Course 4? It was the one that truly impressed me - the sticky rice made with coconut milk and lentils was creamy and chewy at the same time, and the mushrooms on the side made short work of the lemongrass espuma.

Fourth Course: Rhubarb soup, coconut panna cotta, strawberry salad, sesame tuile

Dessert was thankfully light - a sharp rhubarb soup that I would have downed a gallon of, the coconut panna cotta was simple and clean-flavored, and the chocolate sealed the deal. 

I'm already planning to spend a good number of Tuesday evenings there.


Eric said...

Ohh dinner looked good, were hoping to make it to one of the next. Was it pretty busy there for the tasting menu?

Kelly said...

You should! It was somewhat busy but I didn't see too many veg plates coming out. They plan on changing the menu every month or so.

Miss Rachels Pantry said...

Looks awesome. We were seriously considering trying it, but then I noticed that Meritage's regular menu has items like foie gras... I can't bare to think of the money I'd pay for my meal contributing to that. I guess on the other hand, it's commendable of them to offer a vegan selection. What do you think?

Kelly said...

It means more to me to support vegan offerings than to refuse to eat somewhere because of foie gras. I'd have to exclude myself from visiting most of my family members if that were the case...

STyle SHepherd said...

I had a great vegan meal on Tuesday night at Meritage as well! ... And I blogged about it!

Living on the Vedge is fantastic!

Daniel said...

I am excited to try this out I really wanted to go but will have to wait until next Tuesday.