Garden Grille Cafe, Pawtucket

Garden Grille Cafe serves delicious vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free food. The Garden Grille Cafe displays its leadership in preparing vegetarian and vegan dishes done right. They are unpretentious, healthful, inventive and very tasty.

Before we went to the restaurant, our friends were sheepish asking if it was okay to a vegetarian restaurant. If there is amazing food, veggie or otherwise, we are there and willing.

We were discussing during dinner there still is a negative association and elitist stigma when admitting one is a vegan, vegetarian or even eating gluten-free. Portlandia and its organic Aliki Farms vignette highlights some of these perceptions, in a clever and absurd way.

I loved the plant motif, enchanting tree at the bar area, wooden seating, the dangling twinkle lights and light fixtures.

The staff was very friendly and patient educating us on various grains such as faro or items we were unfamiliar with. Although we were in a mid-sized group, the drinks did take sometime to be brought to the table. However, since we were not in any rush, we did not mind. The only time restriction we had that night was to get to Wildflour Vegan Bakery before it closed at 10pm.

Garden Grille’s menu is extensive and creative. There is vegan or gluten-free mac and cheese, tofu blts, butternut squash quesadillas, zataar tofu with horseradish mashed potatoes, hearts of palm burgers and many other specials.

There was a nice selection of beers, cocktails, as well as fresh smoothies. The Playa Tulum ($5) was a luscious and refreshing strawberry based smoothie. Tulum is on my list of travel to do’s and the New York Times wrote a colorful article how Tulum has become an emerging oasis of the fashion elite. If I visited Tulum, I would stay at Be Tulum boutique hotel.

Our new friends ordered multiple Moscow Mules (vodka and ginger beer) which was served an attractive Russian Standard copper mug. It is very distinctive looking and I plan on purchasing several copper mugs. Our other dining companion ordered a custom cocktail which had St. Germain and pear liqueur.

Garden Grille’s nachos were amazing, some of the best I have ever eaten for $10. They were light and not greasy, unlike nachos from chain restaurants. The jalapeno, scallions added nice flavor to the salsa, guacamole and vegan sour cream. The “cheese” was baked on the nacho chip, but very tasty.

Everyone seemed very pleased with their dishes including the Korean Tacos with sweet Chili Sauce, tempeh, cabbage and sriracha mayo for $8, the sweet potato wedges with bbq sauce for $6 and the Farm table special with sweet potatoes, turnips and faro for $16.

The Buttercup Squash Polenta  with Toasted Grains, Radicchio,  Beets,  Almond Romesco looked very tantalizing for $15.

Next time, I will order the Grilled Maitake Mushrooms with bok choy, sweet potatoes, red rice, roasted turnips and miso broth for $16. I was quite envious of the diner and could envision how this dish would taste. Earthy, lightly sweet and full of umami flavor from the miso.

Along with two other friends, we each enjoyed the Charred Leek Risotto Cakes  with Sweet Brown Rice, Brussels Sprouts, Oyster Mushrooms & Shallot, Cashew-Parsnip Puree and Pumpkin Seed Oil for $16. The dish was very lovely, hearty and very filling. The leek risotto cakes were my favorite aspect of the dish and had a nice flavor. The oyster mushrooms and cashew parsnip puree gave an extra layer of richness, which elevated the dish. I would definitely suggest this dish.

Our dining experience at Garden Grille was an impeccable one and I would suggest this restaurant to everyone visiting Providence. There are few exclusively vegetarian dining establishments of this caliber such as Grasshopper or reasonably priced vegetarian friendly restaurants such as Foo(d) AS220.

In fact, I prefer using creative vegetarian cookbooks such as Herbivoracious by Michael Natkin and Emmons’ Vegetarian Planet when I am in the mood for more veggie dishes. I am looking forward to another dinner at Garden Grille soon.

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