At the kind invitation of chef and proprietor Alessandra Quaglia, my “plus one” and I attended the Provence Mediterranean Grill’s inaugural “Meatless Mardi” last night. While Vancouver has a plethora of fantastic vegetarian restaurants, generally none of them offer anything resembling traditional fine-dining. Provence’s tasteful and cozy environment and Tuesday night menu changes that, providing an authentic upscale French dining experience.
Meatless Mardi is an experiment for proprietress Alessandra, but one she seems passionate about, expressing a genuine concern about the environmental impacts of meat production. She has taken the concerns of vegans and others with specific dietary needs to heart in selecting the foods and ingredients used for the evening: the breads are dairy-free, and the main course can be veganized on request. She mentioned the possibility of making everything vegan by default in future.
Meatless Mardi features a three-course prix fixe
menu for $25. The meal begins with olives & focaccia, baguette and balsamic vinaigrette. The appetizer was a plate with Shaved Fennel Carpaccio, Fennel Seed and Lemon Marinated Carrots, and Chickpea Crouton. The fennel was a bit of an unusual experience for me, but the carrots and topping were good.
The main course was Roasted Artichoke, Bell Pepper, Spinach and Goat Cheese Open Ravioli
with Tomato Basil Coulis, and with Daiya mozarella substituted for the goat cheese on request. The presentation was excellent, and the robust melody of flavours was fantastic. This is absolutely a dish that anyone can surely appreciate. We had organic herbal teas, and then dessert was Pear Ginger Tarte Tatin with Chocolate Sorbetto. Absolutely delicious.
Overall, this was a fantastic dining experience, and I think Provence’s Meatless Mardi is going to be a great way to show people that vegetarian meals can satisfy even the most demanding and discerning foodies. The portions were generous, the service friendly and professional – they seemed to take dealing with the concerns of picky vegans in stride, albeit being a little new to it – and it is clear that Provence is making a sincere effort to reach out to Vancouver’s vegetarian & vegan community.
Provence Mediterranean Grill
4473 West 10th Ave.