Times visited: 3
Price for 2: $50
Other: Vegetarian, Vegan
Last night was the night when I really went to Fresh with the intent to have the complete experience. And overall, it was a good one.
My dining companion and I tried to cover a lot of territory by ordering the $24 Prix-Fixe (16 oz smoothie or juice; indian dosas, spring rolls or soup; fresh bowl or salad; cookie). We also got the Tangy BBQ burger with a side of sweet potato fries and some miso gravy for dipping.
The food was overall a hit. We started with the “Breathless” smoothie (strawberry, mango, and banana), which our waiter cheerful split into 2 glasses for us. It looked all swirly and cool and was pretty heavy on the banana. We then got our bowl of the daily soup, which was a made-in-house vegan cauliflower ginger puree with toasted cumin and nutmeg. It was pitch perfect- hearty and flavourful and nothing but health. The soups at Fresh (which are $3.50 for a cup and $6 for a big bowl) are always amazing, even if they feel a bit pricey (to me, who is a little on the frugal side).
For our mains, the Tangy BBQ burger was good! It was SO tall once it was all stacked up that you could barely eat it…their signature patty piled with hot peppers, napa cabbage, yummy sauce and a crispy quinoa-battered onion ring. However, although the overall effect was great I have to say that when everything aligns and you eat it together, it’s pretty tasty and satisfying, but the individual ingredients aren’t as much to rave about. They sound cool, but the flavour balance isn’t always there (e.g. if I had to eat the burger patty all by itself I don’t think I’d enjoy it that much). On the other hand, there is nothing to complain about when it comes to the sweet potato fries– they’re some of the best I’ve ever had. Perfect balance between the crispy, slightly greasy outside and the soft, melt-in-your-mouth sweet potato inside, and seasoned just the way I like them. The miso gravy was also an interesting dip– not my favourite personally, but we spent most of the evening marvelling at just how gravy-like it tasted.
I’m sorry to say that the food experience dipped a bit from there. I got the Buddha bowl, and wouldn’t recommend it. It was a layer of peanut sauce, tofu cubes, and beansprouts on top of brown rice, surrounded by tomato slices (I skipped the cucumber). The sauce really tasted like goopy spiced peanut butter, and contributed to me feeling like I was mucking through the dish. It just didn’t taste, well, fresh.
We also got a cookie for dessert. I should have taken the cashew option, but I was hoping that I might get the chance to have a Vegan chocolate-chip cookie experience that didn’t make me feel like I was eating a bird seed patty with a couple chocolate chips thrown in for good measure. I didn’t.
Despite the fact that we had a couple food misses, I would still recommend Fresh. The atmosphere is a bustling, colourful hipster paradise that nonetheless feels friendly instead of pretentious. The servers are usually pretty nice and helpful (my dining companion was so enamoured with ours this time that he wanted to leave a toonie on the table in addition to our 20% tip). And the food definitely lives up to its name. So if you’re a Vegetarian or Vegan or you want to see how the other half lives, check out Fresh!