Thursday, January 28, 2010

Hippie-chic and Yogic-decadence

I am a notoriously cheap date. I don't care much for fancy restaurants, I am a small person who eats in moderation, and I can't drink more than a half a glass of wine without feeling tipsy. But last night I splurged (well, my mother did), and dined finely at Sutra in Seattle. This all vegan, mostly local and seasonal, pre-fixe menu changes on a weekly base, providing a new and eclectic assortment of flavors for what appeared to be a very loyal customer base. On this crisp January eve, my mother and I headed over to the one Wednesday seating at 7 pm.

The meal began with a gong toll and an offering of thanks. I felt like I was in my morning yoga session ... or the studio next door operated by Sutra's owner. Our first course warmed my chilled bones and played to my sweet tooth - winter squash + apples + candied seeds = happiness.

First Course: Kaffir Lime, Butternut Squash Soup with a Honey Crisp-Olympic Asian Pear-Daikon-Pea Chute Salad with a Miso Ginger Dressing and Candied Sunflower Seeds

Small baby-bean-like white lentils with a deliciously smokey taste captured my attention in the second course. But, the black trumpet and hedgehog mushrooms I had salivated over (not literally) at the farmer's market, stole the show with their subtle balsamic sweetness.

Second Course: Roasted Yellow Beet, House Smoked White Lentil Cake served with Balsamic Infused Trumpet and Hedgehog Mushrooms finished with Tarragon Truffle Oil

Unfortunately, the meal took a downward turn after this scrumptious dish. The greens were over-salted, the garlic and cashew cream tasted reminiscent of soap, and the gnocchi just didn't do it for me. I liked the roasted carrots, though.

Third Course: Yukon Gold, Black Sesame Seed Gnocchis with Steamed Rainbow Chard, Roasted Garlic and Tri-Colored Carrots finished with a Leek-Marjoram-Cashew Cream Sauce

Dessert was also underwhelming, but better than the main course. "Where's the chocolate?" best describes this mousse pie. While the crust was fantastic and the blackberry sauce tickled my palate, the avocado cream pie lacked the decadent chocolate flavor that I often dream about. I am no stranger to chocolate avocado pie, and this one just didn't live up to my high standards. Next time, Sutra, just give me the Theo Chocolate bar!

Fourth Course: Theo’s Chocolate Avocado Ice Cream Torte with a Pistachio Date Crust finished with Wild Foraged Blackberry-Vanilla Bean Sauce

Overall, it was a tasty evening with my favorite ethical bent. Was it worth $33 + tax + tip person? Probably not. Would I go back if the menu looked particularly tasty? Probably yes. I mean, their hearts are in the right place and they have a backyard garden!

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