Thursday, June 23, 2011

Blackened Halibut at the Wallflower Modern Diner

Wallflower Modern Diner on Urbanspoon

It was Car-Free Day on Sunday June 19th, with Veg Fest nestled in the middle of the Main Street location, around Main and East 19th.

My dining buddy and I went to check it out around mid-way at close to 4pm, and scored just one decent freebie from COBS Bread (Bakers Delight in Australia) -- a bun which they smeared with chocolate sauce and, if you liked, coated that chocolate with sprinkles.
There were also smaller bites of chewy bread from Quejos, which are interesting for being wheat-free, gluten-free, yeast-free, and non-dairy.

Afterwards, we idled about looking for something closer to dinner, and shared one chocolate-covered waffle and a small order of tayoyaki before getting serious about what to eat.
My dining buddy was off gluten and off potatoes, so while I was curious to finally try Re-Up, the bun would have been a regular one and in deference to her present dietary restrictions we opted for something else. That something being the Wallflower Modern Diner.

Food aside, it's a neat place because it has multiple menus -- for omnivores, gluten-free diners, vegetarians, and vegans. You're more or less guaranteed to find something without having to resort to salad, and there are several substitutes available to each type of item to cater to different restrictions.

Last time I was there, their chocolate cake was still super-yummy, and we checked to make sure they had at least one slice available for us before settling in to scan the gluten-free menu.

My friend had come once before and was impressed by the fire-blackened halibut (cajun halibut, peaches, vegetables, green salad), so I decided to give that a go, after having had their yummy hummus melt twice already.
She went for a gluten-free hummus melt (gluten-free english muffin, hummus, spinach,onion, mushroom, havarti), which was their regular hummus melt, but at +$1 to substitute the foccacia with a gluten-free english muffin.

My halibut looked blackened, alright. It's "cajun style blackened" is actually a specific way of preparing halibut, and while it looks burnt, the blackening actually enhances flavour. Which can't always be said about stuff that's blackened in the kitchen.
Other than that, my order was quite simple if you deconstruct it and realize most of the volume on the plate was token salad and veggies. The halibut was well-prepared, juicy on the inside and it hit the table quite quickly from the time we ordered it, and was still piping hot. The peaches (skin off) were a nice touch, and the bites of halibut went down well accompanied with a bite of peach at the same time.

The gluten-free hummus melt was, to me, quite a shocking disappointment compared to the vegan hummus melt I had before. It was two halves of an English Muffin piled so high with mushrooms you couldn't see the hummus beneath, and with a generous amount of cheese holding it all together on top.
The vegan hummus melt I had before had the creepy Daiya cheese, but the melted Havarti here ended up giving each bite a rather oily taste and texture. Still, the garlicky hummus dominated the flavour, and so it still turned out okay. I wonder if using jalapeno havarti might not have further enhanced things...

Portion-wise, I thought both came in on the lean side for the price point, but it's hard to quibble about it when your dinner tastes so good.

We opted for "à la mode" for the vegan chocolate cake, and so it came with two small scoops of vegan ice cream.
The vegan ice cream was milky white and creamy, but being vegan it of course had no actual dairy-based cream. Instead, it was made of soy, though you'd have to really be paying attention to catch the difference. The taste and texture was like a basic milk ice cream, though there was an aftertaste that gave it away, plus a slight graininess. For anyone missing "regular" ice cream because they turned vegan, this would have been a very nice treat.
The chocolate cake was as tasty as I remembered it.

$15 for the halibut, ($12 + $1) for the hummus melt, $6 for the chocolate cake, +$1 for the ice cream, +tax = $39.20 before tip. No wine.

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