Fressen - Review...
Went to Fressen last nite (Sunday - 7:30 p.m.).
They have received some pretty good reviews so we went to check it out.
The Restaurant was PACKED...and the two waitresses were scrambling. However they did a great job.
We were two couples..and ordered 7 plates. (its a tapas side portion and they encourage sharing)
We were STUFFED by the end of the meal...
every single dish was a winner....every single dish was presented beautifully.
A few dishes were on the "oily" side...but hey, for a vegan restaurant....we gave it a thumbs up and we will be returning.
I ate at Fressen 2 weeks ago. It is some of the best vegan food I have had. Their pepper pasta with roasted broccoli was great. As well as a jicama and celery root salad.
I thought that the braised gluten with yams was not that good though. I've had gluten that was good. The texture was too chewy and it was pretty flavorless.
I must say though their "small" dishes are actually main course size to me. On my last visit, I ordered two dishes and it was definitely more than enough for me. I would say 3 dishes between two people is probably a good rule-of-thumb.
I've been to their brunch and enjoyed the food immensely. The sweet potato ginger muffins are very delicious (but you can get that from their Kensington branch too).
Fressen is a mostly reliable small-plates restaurant, with very good, though not excellent, food and drink. However, their willy-nilly service drives me crazy. Food arrives at random intervals (whenever it is ready) with no thought to proper timing or grouping of dishes. Eating at Fressen requires patience, time, and a total willingness to share -- or else one person may be long-finished when the other finally receives his/her first dish.
re: Food Tourist
Sequencing and timing is a problem with many - perhaps most -- "small plates" restaurants. In my opinion, "served when it is ready" can be an inexcusable cop out that spoils an otherwise excellent meal.
Serving staff must ask what will and won't be shared and also the order in which a table wants its food. Serving one person five courses within 15 minutes while someone else at the table gets no food for an hour is a disgrace. This has happened to us more than once. The server needs to point out any anomalies when the order is placed, and give customers an opportunity to modify their order.
The server has a responsibility to tell the kitchen what the customer wants, and the kitchen has a responsibility to meet the request. If something gets prepared faster, then make it later. It's harder for the staff, but that's just too bad. If you can't do this than, IMHO, your resto should adopt a different serving style.
There is NO excuse -- NONE -- to take an order for bread, scallop risotto, and a dessert and then serve the scallops after 20 minutes, the dessert 10 minutes later, the risotto 20 minutes after that, and the bread after everything else is finished. Yes, this did happen. Everything was delicious, but the meal was a bust.
We've had this kind of experience at JKWB, Relish (which we otherwise love), Fressen, and more.
We haven't been to Fressen for about a year, but have had a number of consistently great meals there since they opened a few years ago.
My husband and I are carnivores who feel totally satisfied after a meal there. You don't miss out on any flavours of textures by eating the vegan offerings there.
They have an offshoot take-out place called Urban Herbivore, on Oxford St. in Kensington Market. I've never been, but friends have said it's wonderful.