Going Vegan at Envie

Visited On: September 4, 2014
Gluten Free Menu: No (options listed on regular menu)
Server Knowledge:
Server Attitude:
Variety of Gluten-Free Options:
Overall Gluten-Friendly Rating:
Overall Dining Experience:
Price Range: $10-$15 per person, plus drinks, tax, and tip

Let’s face it: Michael and I are about as far away from vegetarians as you can imagine. A vegan diet, where cheese is off the menu too, would be completely out of the question. However, we’ve heard great things about enVie and we finally got a chance to check it out.

We arrived at the restaurant early on a Thursday evening and took a seat inside, where we were the only customers. (The patio outside was full.) The atmosphere was very quiet, soothing, and relaxing – perfect for the end of a long week. We started off with drinks (a Boxing Rock Temptation Red ale for Michael and a glass of Blomidon L’Acadie Blanc for me). The enVie menu is very allergen-friendly and easy to understand. Gluten, soy, and nut free options are all marked with either an indicator of no allergen as-is, or an explanation of what modifications need to be made. There is also a handy booklet at the table describing various ingredients and terms as well as a list of the restaurant’s local suppliers.

We decided on an order of buffalo risotto cakes (two for $8) for an appetizer. For the main course, I chose the Filet-o-Fresh (tofu burger with tartar sauce, greens, and a “cheese slice” made from cashews, $13 + $1.50 for a gluten-free bun from Odell’s) and upgraded to a poutine for the side dish (additional $2). Michael ordered the Moroccan Chickpea Bowl ($14) on our server’s recommendation.

The risotto cakes arrived quite quickly and were accompanied by a house-made hot sauce with a “blue cheese” crumble. The risotto cakes were lovely: moist yet light and very flavourful. The buffalo-style sauce was more tangy than hot (perhaps a bit too much vinegar for our taste, in fact) and the blue cheese was interesting but didn’t have much flavour. However, when you ate all three items together the dish was outstanding.

Our mains took quite a bit longer to arrive – we had both nearly finished our drinks by the time the dishes reached the table. I really enjoyed my burger: the bun was soft and delicious, the greens were nice and fresh, and the tartar sauce was amazing. I didn’t really get much from the “cheese slice,” and of course tofu doesn’t have much flavour, but overall it could have passed for a fish burger. The poutine was also excellent and filling, although the portion was small. About half a dozen large potato wedges were covered in a rich, spicy gravy, accompanied by some sort of pretend cheese curds that were actually quite interesting. It’s definitely a dish that I would order again.

Michael’s entrée was less impressive. He found that it had some heat but not enough flavour despite the variety of ingredients and peanut sauce. The portion size was good, however, and overall the meal was filling.

Unfortunately we ran out of time for dessert, but I did notice on the way out that in addition to a number of gluten-free takeaway items (such as macaroni and “cheese”), they also have gluten-free doughnuts, muffins, and granola bars. All ingredients are clearly listed with gluten-free and nut-free options available. They also offer a number of cooking classes and special events, as well as gluten-free weekend brunch options, including waffles and eggs Benedict.

Overall we enjoyed our dinner at enVie. For non-vegans, I’d compare it to a non-Celiac eating gluten-free food: it’s interesting and enjoyable when done well, even if it’s not something you may ever try again. If you are a vegetarian or vegan with food allergies, then enVie will probably become one of your favourite places to dine out.

enVie: A Vegan Kitchen
5775 Charles Street (Halifax)
902-492-4077
Web Site: http://enviehalifax.com/

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