Two nights ago, AY and I had dinner at Avenue M. As much as that sentence sounds like I’m trying to protect the identity of the restaurant, that’s really not the case. It really is called “Avenue M.” The “M” part stands for Merrimon, since it’s on Merrimon Avenue.
But I digress. It had been a long time since I’d been there to eat, and I don’t think it was Avenue M then, so I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect. Again, I was pleasantly surprised by how many veggie options there were. So many, in fact, that I had a really difficult time deciding what I wanted to eat, which doesn’t always happen in non-vegetarian restaurants. There were at least a handful of vegetarian entrees, several vegetarian sandwiches and appetizers, and a couple of delicious-sounding salads. I was completely torn between the Veggie Lasagna, the Vegetarian Calzone, the Veg Stir-Fry (with tofu in a fig/ginger sauce–mmmmmm….) and the Moroccan Vegetable Tagine. Reluctantly, I had to make a decision. I didn’t even know what a “tagine” was, but it sounded good! I’d been craving gingerbread all day, and that item looked like just what the doctor ordered: orange-glazed tofu and an array of vegetables, including carrots, zucchini, potatoes, and butternut squash, all cooked with a cinnamon and cumin mixture and topped with toasted almonds. While I really wasn’t feeling the couscous that was going to accompany it, I am always up for some pita bread!
AY – Avenue M is a large restaurant in size. It has outdoor seating, indoor tables and booths in different sections. The ceilings are very high which mitigates the noise level, and there are a couple of flat screen televisions to watch sporting events. Scoops commented on the exposed brick walls. Avenue M seems set up to be both a restaurant and sports bar all rolled in to one.
Being a creature of habit, I had an appetizer “Spicy Ginger Tofu” which I have had a couple of times before and a side of “Sweet Potato Fries”. I wasn’t really that hungry so I passed on an entree. There was definitely a good selection of vegetarian options on the menu. The ginger tofu was well prepared with nice crisp tofu cubes, a generous helping of kale, and sour carrots. The combination of ginger and vinegar gave it a nice flavor. I am generally not in to fries, but the sweet potato fries sounded good and I wanted something else to go with the tofu appetizer. The fries didn’t disappoint. They tasted fresh, not too oily or salty, and fried to perfection. Scoops was gracious enough to let me sample her dish and it is definitely something I would order on another visit.
The dish that AY is referring to (my Moroccan Vegetable Tagine) was tasty, and yes, I would probably order it again. My complaint was that the vegetables were a tad too overcooked for my taste. I hesitate to even say anything since I don’t know if perhaps they’re supposed to be cooked that way, but I would have preferred a little more texture so that I could tell one veggie from another. Only other issue? There was no pita bread as advertised. Strangely, I didn’t even notice that it was missing until I went home and looked at the online menu, so no harm, no foul as far as I’m concerned.
For dessert I had a simple white cake which was made by Short Street Cakes – a local establishment. It was very satisfying.
Don’t forget the part about how it was a lavender white cake, AY! That lavender part ROCKED, by the way. (Thanks for letting me try it!) I had the Autumn Cheesecake. I’m not really all that big into cheesecakes, but since I was going with the gingerbread theme, it sounded like as good a choice as any. I was pleasantly surprised! The cheesecake itself didn’t seem to have all that much in the way of spices, but it had cinnamon and some other Fall spices sprinkled over it and some nuts thrown in for good measure. I left full and very happy with my choices. (And also looking forward to going back to try all the things I didn’t get to try the first time...)
As an aside, there were a couple of vegan options available (like the one I had), and quite a few things that looked like they could be made vegan with the omission of just one ingredient. They mention on their menu that they are friendly to gluten-free folks, but I don’t know how that gets played out in practice. Raw foodies would have only salads as options, to the best of my estimate.