Vegan cuisine tens to get the short end of the stick when it comes to more “international” type cuisine. For instance, I’ve never seen a restaurant devoted to vegan German, Ecuadorian or, say, Australian food. Granted, there sometimes are certain dishes that are/can be made vegan in these cuisines, but not a fully dedicated vegan menu.
In this regard, Delice & Sarrasin is an most welcome (and delicious) outlier. The restaurant, whose name means “Buckwheat Delight” in French, is equal parts unassumingly charming and unapologetically decadent, much like its adorable co-owner (the restaurant is family owned!), model Christophe Caron.
I first heard of the restaurant by typing in the keyword “vegan” on Seated (iOs + Android, enter TERRY3 in the code section for a $10 bonus!) and booking a reservation after weeks of anticipation. I was certainly not disappointed.
D & S has a cozy, intimate feel, more so like a café than a full-fledged restaurant, which it nonetheless is. I love the recessed back lighting, slightly chintzy French décor (the flag of France, which is prominently hung outside the entrance, always helps me find the place), gnarly tree framing the window and well-composed two-page menu. Music selection cycles between jazz, soul and neo classical and I’ve Shazamed plenty of songs during my visits.
From my numerous (~5) trips here, there seems to be an all-male waitstaff. I’m not sure if this is intentional or it simply worked out that way. They are hospitable enough; not overly amenable or warm. I must mention that I’ve waited half an hour-plus for food to arrive, so if you’re quite hungry then I’d recommend ordering an appetizer. The wait for food can be insufferable at worst and aggravating at best, but it’s worth it in the end, which is why I keep coming back!
Brie Roti et Fondant Vegetale (15) // Melted and Roasted Brie (macadamia nuts based) served with baked potato, cooked with thyme and levain bread
To my general knowledge, the French love their cheese, to the point of obsession. I was eager to see how D+S would do justice to their rich French culture of amazing cheese in vegan form. Luckily, they measured up quite cheese-tastically with this appetizer.
Finely-sliced baguette is the method of transport of the gooey cheese “loaf” that I otherwise would’ve happily scooped up like yogurt of it wasn’t for my (also ravenous) dining companions. The cheese had a creamy, slightly gooey consistency that was easily spread on toast. The taste was close to a coconut-type cheese without any trace of coconut flavor, as it is made with tapioca and soy. If you’ve ever tried the original Vegan Chao cheese from Field Roast, it was similar to that but a bit more pungent in terms of flavor.
Tournedos Rossini (35) // “Impossible Food” steak, cooked in light butter, on a crouton topped with sliced foie gras and fresh black truffle:
The most expensive item on the menu is also the least filling and highest on flavor; something that seems to go together at fancy places (so I suppose it comes with the territory!). I only got a small taste from Juan’s plate, but it was enough for me to make an accurate conclusion: D+S makes a slammin’ faux-gras! The impossible steak was cooked to supple perfection, a bit smoky and very juicy.
Since it comes with twigs of asparagus, I would never order it myself. Ass-para-ugh, I like to call it!
Cassoulet Toulousain (25) // Slow cooked casserole with white beans, vegan sausage (vegetables based), seitan duck, onions, carrots and tomatoes. SF
For those of you on the hungrier side of the spectrum, I’d recommend this dish to wet your whistle. Chock-full of white beans, two types of veg meat, carrots and tomatoes, the Cassoulet Toulousain will make any Toulousain full, regardless if you’re from Toulouse or not. It has a pretty basic flavor profile and didn’t blow me away, but still a solid choice.
Coquilles St Jacques (19) // Vegan grilled scallops (tapioca and potato based) on top of sauteed spinach and seaweed. GF & SF
To be honest, this dish piqued my curiosity more than anything else: how on earth does one make vegan scallops? Apparently, with potato and tapioca, according to the D+S menu. I was skeptical about the consistency, but was pleasantly surprised at its closeness to the real thing (take that with a grain of salt, considering I haven’t had scallops in 12 years… but hey! I still remember! Kinda…). The top, crispy-looking layer added another dimension in taste to the supple-y soft faux-scallop.
Though this dish was high on flavor and novelty, it did not make make full at all. In fact, I’d say it was more of an appetizer size.
Tagliatelle aux Fruits de Mer (19) // Tagliatelle with vegan squid, shrimp & scallops (tapioca and potato starch) with Mediterranean olive oil. SF
I try to avoid ordering pasta dishes when I eat out, because more often than not, the pasta comes from a box of Barilla or other generic crud. However, my curiosity won out with this dish, since I was eager to see how they would pull it off.
The vegan seafood tasted like a less pungent version of real scallops… basically scallops lite, and with a different texture. It seemed like they kinda slacked with the “scallops” in this dish, versus the outstanding ones in the Coquilles St. Jacques one. If you’re a nonvegan trying this out and expecting something realistic, well… don’t. It certainly didn’t taste disagreeable, but it wasn’t anything to write home about. I could have easily replicated this dish at home.
Steak tartare végétale et frites maison (25) // Finely chopped steak tartare (Pea protein, coconut oil and beets) with shallots, parsley, olive oil, capers, vegan egg (Raw) with french fries. GF & SF
I’ve dubbed this dish Juan’s Special since it’s his go-to whenever we dine out. It seems like the quintessential veganized French dish (that I would see in every French textbook in high school, ah the nostalgia): steak-frites!
Made with rare-like beyond-burger tasting “steak” and an olive oil middle, this is a fun dish that pairs well with the thick-cut fries it comes with. In my normal diet, I tend to avoid anything with protein isolates, but it’s ok for a night out. It definitely makes you feel indulgent!💃
Aiguillette de Canard à la Moutarde & Petit Pois Carotte (23) // Seitan duck breast cooked in mustard and tarragon with green peas and carrots. SF
Served in a cast-iron bowl with handles, this dish is most similar to a fancier pot roast, mini-sized. The veggies are all expertly roasted to savory/saucy perfection, with a hearty marinade that gives it a rich yet light roast-flavor.
Mr Petrossian // Smoked Salmon (konjac), Crème fraiche, Avocado Puree, Dill. GF & SF:
Who knew salmon could be veganized? I applaud the effort D+S made on creating vegan salmon. To be perfectly frank, though, it tasted more like a salmon-flavored soft eraser than actual salmon, which makes me think that’s what it is… agar agar with salmon essence (hey D+S staff, correct me if I am wrong on this!). It wasn’t the most enjoyable crepe I’ve had on their menu, that’s for sure. I’d skip this one, unless you really cannot resist the novelty.
Mr Rabelais // Toulouse Sausage (vegetables blend), Parisian Mushrooms, Mustard Cream & Emmental Cheese (cashew based). GF & SF:
By far, my favorite salty crepe at D+S. Creamy, savory and filled with hearty vegan cheese, herbs and sausage, this one is a nondescript standout from all the crepes I’ve had at D+S. Sometimes the homeliest choice is the tastiest!
Creme Brulee (8.50) // Coconut cream, orange
Arguably one of the most satisfying rituals in human history is the cracking of the surface of creme brulee. This ritual was previously available only to dairy-loving pastry connoisseurs, but lo! D+S has brought the scintillating sensation back to us vegans who missed this extremely frivolous yet essential part of life.
Besides the treat of cracking the surface, in and of itself, this creme brulee tastes pretty damn good. It’s like a toasty orange-cream confection that most resembles vanilla pudding (it is also served cold sometimes, which does throw me off), with a crunchy sugar-glaze on top. However, it seems like the size of the bowls seem to vary: sometimes I’ll get a nice, oblong one, and others a smaller round one. Maybe it depends on the pastry chef’s mood that day?
La Bordelais (10) // Salted Caramel, Roasted Apple, Vanilla Ice Cream. SF
I’m happy to say that D+S not only has hearty and filling salty crepes, but also delicately dulce dessert types. If you’re a fan of apple pie (though honestly, who isnt?), this selection is much like a pie-in-a-crepe. It’s also not cloyingly sweet — just the right amount of fruit and apple syrup to go along with tea.
La Suzette (10) // Crepe Flambe With Orange, Lemon, Sugar, Cashew butter and Grand Marnier. SF
Unsurprisingly, crepes, citrus and liquor make for an irresistible menage a trois when it comes to create an unapologetically decadent yet delicate-looking dessert. This is like a pancake’s svelte younger cousin that happened to get drenched in a torrent of tasty toppings (can’t stop won’t stop). I had hoped that they’d set the crepe on fire like they do in the movies, but alas, at D+S, life does not imitate art. That didn’t stop me from inhaling this toothsome treat, though! 😍
*Image from delicesarrasin.com