I recently went to Dovetail, a Michelin-starred restaurant that has a “Meatless Mondays” menu. It was also the site of “Vegetables at Dovetail”, a great vegetarian-themed event recently that featured some of the city’s top chefs featuring their vegetarian creations. So, as you might have inferred from those bits of information, Dovetail is a pretty vegetarian-friendly restaurant. I went there for dinner on Meatless Monday and had a very good meal.The “Meatless Monday” menu has two columns — one is completely vegetarian; the other is vegetable focused. Obviously I ordered from the vegetarian menu.
The meal started with a couple of amuse-bouches. (Is that the plural form? I don’t know.) The first was a very fresh and “lively” course with some radish and spring greens. This contrasted with the much more carb-oriented second amuse. This featured a truffle risotto ball (left), a cracker, and some cornbread. I thought this was kind of a weird combination, but the truffle risotto ball was pretty fantastic.
Then we were on to the first course, which was a turnip ceviche. I have to say, I was not optimistic. First of all, I’m not really a fan of turnips, and ceviche? Well, as a vegetarian, I’d never really had ceviche, but I knew that it involved basically dousing fish in lemon juice. The turnip ceviche was done in the same style: lime juice, chili peppers, and turnip, with some quinoa.
I didn’t really know how this would turn out, but it was actually really good. The turnip had a sort of crunch to it, and it actually tasted “done”, not raw. There was not very much quinoa, but the acidity of the lime juice went well with the spiciness of the chili peppers. A few other garnishes rounded out the dish nicely. (I wasn’t sure if the flowers were actually edible, but I did eat them.)
The next course was the charred cauliflower. I wanted to like this, and in fact I did like it. But I think I was just being unfair to Dovetail. As you might remember, I recently went to Picholine, and they had a very similar dish, the “cauliflower steak”. I dind’t want to compare this to Picholine’s cauliflower course, but it was hard not to. Both dishes were very similar — a sort of roasted cauliflower dish enhanced with Indian spices. Both were very good, though I have to give the edge to Picholine. Still, Dovetail did quite well. I thought the flowers added some interesting color.
My next course was the “foraged greens ravioli” — basically, cheese ravioli with several different types of greens. And, yes, flowers (I detected a theme here…). The ravioli was really good, and the greens were great. I tried to get from waitress exactly which greens were in the dish, but she didn’t know. I could tell that there were ramps and nettles, and that the greens were very simply prepared, which allowed their natural flavor to shine through. (In case you’re wondering, yes the nettles were boiled, so they wouldn’t sting.) I’d say this ravioli was the high point of the dinner.
As frequent readers of this blog know, I have a soft spot for apple desserts. So, perhaps predictably, I ordered the “apple crepe terrine”, which, like the turnip ceviche, also wasn’t quite what I was expecting. I don’t know if it’s clear from the picture, but this appeared to be an apple crepe that had been sort of layered on itself, and then sliced. So what you see there is actually a “cross-section” of apple crepe. Now I’m not against unusual presentation, but I thought the apple and the crepe were both quite soft, so this almost (not quite, but almost) had an indistinguishable “mush” texture to it. It wasn’t bad by any stretch, but I wasn’t terribly impressed.
Dinner came to a close with some assorted sweets. I don’t know why, but the “jelly” (top left corner) seems to be in thing right now. I have to say I’m not a fan. This isn’t Dovetail’s fault — it seems like everyone’s doing it — but I just want to put that out there.
Overall, Dovetail was very good. I like that they take the effort not only to have vegetarian options on the menu but also to really feature great vegetarian fare, through their Monday night vegetarian menu and events like Vegetables at Dovetail. I also appreciate that the vegetarian four-course prix fixe is substantially less expensive than the regualr prix fixe — vegetarian fare is usually much cheaper than non-veg stuff, so it’s annoying to pay the same price as everyone else.
On the merits, I thought Dovetail did a very good job. The turnip ceviche was an unusual dish, and the ravioli was very good. The vegetarian selections was interesting and they were generally executed well, although nothing was “knock your socks off” impressive. Three and a half stars.
Dovetail’s menus are below. (Return to the body of the post.)