Monday, May 19, 2014

Hit and Miss at Graze

Graze on Urbanspoon

After a good experience during Dine Out Vancouver, I had it in my mind to go back to Graze for their regular menu and just this past Friday I dragged a back-to-vegetarianism friend there. She invited a gluten free friend and an unsuspecting I-love-KFC meat eater.

Between the four of us, we tried quite a few items, and my experience of it was that there's a lot of hit and miss. At your table, some people will love some things and not really care for others. Portion sizes for mains can also differ wildly.
The menu online is also mostly correct but not necessarily updated.

Marinated asparagus, sunchoke chips, and grilled brussels sprouts
  • This was a daily special 3-item starter. They did something to each of the items to make it tasty. The others really loved this but I thought it was kind of blah. The asparagus tasted like picked whatever; and the brussels sprouts just tasted bitter (which brussels sprouts already are on their own) and slightly burnt but my back-to-veggies friend was happily reminded of smoky bacon and loved it.
Crepes ($17, gluten free) Basil and chickpea crepes filled with marinated and grilled seasonal vegetables and organic tempeh,on bed of wild rice pilaf, tomato sage coulis.
  • This was my friend's order and I just got to try a sampling of the crepe.
  • The chickpea crepes were quite dry and on the firm side for their use of chickpeas, presumably to keep the whole thing gluten free. If you're gluten free, then, well, beggars can't be choosers. If you're not, you might want to think twice about this item.
  • Overall I really didn't like this. It just wasn't that tasty.
  • A rather large portion for price.
Vegetable Strata ($17, gluten free) Butternut squash, potato and bell peppers layered with tangy tomato sauce, cashew creme and house-made herbed polenta.
  • I didn't get to try the one-bowl portion of this item. It looked so small that the person who got it (the hapless meat eater in our party) was shocked -- "where's the rest of it"?
Some sorta cashew cheese torte
  • I don't like taking notes at dinner because it just looks so suspicious. But I ought to have this time because this item didn't show on the online menu.
  • Small torte about five or six inches in diameter and less than an inch thick.
  • Not "wow" good, but still really good and tasty. Compared with everything else at the table, I definitely thought I got the best item. Could've used a second torte for sharing, though.
  • Small portion. Like, very small bordering on embarrassingly small, but not as bad as Save-On-Meats.
Scoops ($6, gluten free) 2 scoops of ice cream from our talented neighbours at Earnest Ice Cream.
  • Must be good because there was a huge lineup outside!
  • Odd looking ice cream that seemed crumbly like cottage cheese. Tasted okay. Not sure what the big deal is. Might have to go next door and get a proper sample all to myself.
Torte ($7, gluten free) Flourless yet decadent chocolate torte with raspberry-rose cream and cashew brittle.
  • Nothing too special here, but I guess it doesn't have to be considering it's a big chunk of rich dark chocolate. Certainly rich enough that a single order is good for sharing.
  • Maybe pair it with the ice cream if straight chocolate is too rich for you.
Overall, I think especially if you are an omnivore, Graze offers interesting dishes but there's definitely a bit of chance here as to whether you will like it or not.
Reservations recommended as it was quite busy by around 7pm.

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