Monday, May 30, 2011

Something for everyone at The Eatery

The Eatery on Urbanspoon

With The Eatery's huge menu, it's not hard to claim having the largest selection of veggie sushi in Vancouver. You've probably at least heard of the place and it's funkiness. There are immense sculptures hanging from the ceiling, some made from hundreds of tiny toys mashed together.
It's worth a look, even if the ambiance isn't for you. And as for ambiance... It's busy and it's loud (even the music is loud, to blast over the buzz of the busy restaurant-goers). Personally, not my scene but at 25% off, what the hey?

Yes, 25% off. You probably missed it, but EarthSave put on a bit of a fundraiser for their organization. The deal was $2 for Earthsave if you weren't a member, and 25% off your meal at The Eatery. EarthSave's Vancouver Meatless Meetup does put on quite a few interesting dining events, so I highly recommend signing up (it's free to sign up -- no commitment to events, no membership fee) and getting their announcement e-mails.

Due to the horde of people that day (there was our group, plus two birthday parties in the lounge), each table of six had a single bill, so the vegans and vegetarians got herded separately to keep things straightforward, and the bill came with tip pre-calculated.

The food was okay. Our table ordered the "Garden of Eden" veggie platter (spicy vegetable roll, mango paradise, yummy yam roll, avocado roll, 3 pieces Imari nigiri). The regular price was $24.95. There were a couple of separate orders as well, and overall it was okay. Not bad, but not as funky as the restaurant, and nothing to write home about.

We finished off with a Pear (hazelnut gelato shaped like a pear and dipped in chocolate with torrone pieces). It was pretty good, a slightly different take on just having a couple scoops of ice cream. It was also pretty hard, so ask for a knife (yes, a knife) to more conveniently cut off chunks. The crunch of the chocolate coating to go along with the ice cream gives this dessert a pleasant texture in the mouth. A bit pricey for the quantity you get at $5.75 though. And probably not vegan, either, but we were at the vegetarian table.

As for vegan options, you have to look carefully and ask your server about the sauces. Some servers don't necessarily know enough, so if you're uptight about accidentally eating something that has an animal component to the sauce, you might want to pick a different place. Some sauces may incorporate honey or be a beef-stock based teriyaki sauce.

So far I'd have to say The Eatery is probably more about the space, the big tables to field big groups, and the endless menu for people who want to try different things. If you look hard enough, there are a few interesting eats, and I'll probably have to go back some time for something like the Panama Roll (avocado cream cheese topped with tempura plantain banana and dragon sauce) or The Figa Roll (figs, blue cheese sauce, tempura crunch wrapped with prosciutto).
Since this was a vegan/vegetarian dine-out, I gave those a pass this time.

The most disappointing part of the evening was the service. With three big groups coming in to the lounge, plus regular lineups for their regular restaurant side, you'd think management would have tried harder to arrange for a couple more servers to tend to the three parties. But no, instead we had just a couple of overwhelmed servers.

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