Italian-style Vegan Dinner: Bellissimo!

And so the Tenant returns with a Vegan Night review…Actually, I did enjoy last month’s offering tremendously, as I’m sure many of you did. Trouble was, I wasn’t feeling well enough to really be up to photographing it or reviewing it at the time. I ate my Wild Mushroom Salad with Pistachios right away, but could only get through about half the Asparagus and Meyer Lemon Risotto because of poor appetite from my cold, so I boxed up the rest, along with the dessert, for home. The positive side of this was that when I woke up the next day after sleeping for many hours, I had that delicious risotto to eat, which was creamy, comforting and hit the spot–the perfect dish to eat when you’re not feeling well and want something cozy to eat without having to cook it. I finished my Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble a day or so later, reheating that as I had the risotto, and it was absolutely yummy. So I was looking forward to this month’s offering and being able to enjoy it in a healthier state (believe me, it took a while).

First course: Minestrone with Pesto Rouille and Garlic Toast. Oh my, was this tasty! A rich melange of fresh and lovely vegetables and white beans, swirled through with the flavorful pesto, rich with fresh basil. It would even be good as a winter dish, but as a spring dish it is excellent and very Italian.

The main course, Gardein Piccata Style with Caper-White Wine-Lemon Sauce, Gnocchi and Saute of Seasonal Vegetables, could not have been better. The gardein did as fine a job of mocking a veal cutlet as it does chicken, breaded and sauced with a light yet richly flavorful brew of capers, white wine and lemon. It sat atop a bed of gnocchi, which in the hands of some chefs can be rather leaden–not at the Bistro! They were delicious little potato-y nuggets coated lightly with sauce. And the vegetables….oh, the vegetables! Fresh as could be, including wonderfully savory asparagus that tasted like spring itself.

For the grand finale, there was the Limoncello-Infused Panna Cotta with Raspberry Sauce and Puff Pastry Tuile. The panna cotta was served in a ramekin as a sort of chunky pudding, and was lightly lemony and delicious, drenched in tart raspberry sauce and topped with fresh plump raspberries and a sprig of mint. The tuile alongside was feather-light and an ideal accompaniment.

Once again, the Vegan Night offering proved how tasty and satisfying a vegan meal can be, even for those who don’t normally eat vegan. Incidentally, while  was eating I saw a man who was just leaving the Bistro rhapsodizing about the quality of the mushroom salad he had just enjoyed, which put me in mind of how delicious last month’s vegan mushroom salad was. If you’re normally not a vegan eater, and you haven’t tried Vegan Night at the Bistro yet, you just might want to give it a try…you could be quite surprised. Of course, if you have, you know that next month’s offering will be just as good!

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