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August 18-31
VOL.14 ISSUE. 26
HOME / STORY

Nom Nom Nosh

Noelle Chorney
Published Tuesday August 19, 11:18 pm
This vegetarian-focused restaurant is good enough to please any taste

NOSH

820 Broadway Ave. 306-933-3355

It often seems that “healthy option” restaurants neglect their liquor selection — which is silly, because no one ever said that vegans don’t enjoy cocktails. So thank gawd for the recent entry of Nosh Eatery and Tap into Saskatoon’s dining scene, as they have some killer cocktails, a nice beer selection and a lovely wine list alongside their many vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free menu items.

It’s one thing to go to Nosh on the tail end of a spring cleanse (which I did) and be relieved to discover more than one option to choose from, all of which sounded delicious. It’s another to go with no dietary limitations and be completely reduced to abject indecision. I wanted to try it all!

Nosh’s modus operandi is good, nourishing food; the twist is that they flip the usual restaurant menu breakdown of 80-90 per cent meat entrees and 10-20 per cent vegetarian entrees on its head. You’ll find creative uses of all kinds of vegetables, and quinoa put through its paces. Fish and cheese also make themselves known for anyone who can’t fathom a totally vegan meal. And if you must, there’s a steak sandwich.

Back when I was coming off said spring cleanse, I met a friend for lunch at Nosh, in hopes that there would be something on the menu that I could have in spite of being restricted to vegetables. Was there ever! Although I did have to stay away from the Halloumi cheese entrée and crostini appetizer (which was difficult, because I love Halloumi, the cheese often used to make the Greek classic saganaki, otherwise known as ‘that amazing chewy fried cheese that you dip your pita in’).

We chose a couple of appetizers to share: curried spinach dip with vegetables for dipping (and fried beet and yam chips, which were technically cheating), sweet pea ‘pancakes’ with chipotle hummus and orange quinoa salsa, and a bowl of vegan spicy vegetable and black bean soup.

After some time away from ‘real’ food, I reveled in the fresh flavours and textures of the creamy dip, and the warm and tender pancakes with their vibrant toppings. And the soup was just what you would expect: nicely seasoned broth, a bit of chili heat, fresh veggies and beans. I was also keen to come back and try some of the other menu items once I had access to my full palette.

On my next lunchtime visit, we hit the sandwich menu. It was a toss-up between the roasted squash sandwich and the beetroot burger for me, and my husband opted for the black bean and quinoa burger. The sandwiches were tasty, and the bread fresh, but I was somewhat overwhelmed by eating a patty that was bound with brown rice on a bun. That’s way more starch than I’m used to eating at one time.

My husband also insists on sampling Caesar salads everywhere he goes, in search of one that’s better than we make at home. We were curious about the vegan cashew lemon dressing. I found myself sneaking more and more pieces of lettuce out of his salad bowl because I loved the tangy, creamy combo. Yes: something can be both creamy and tangy at the same time, and vegan to top it all off.

FINALLY, I got to go to Nosh for dinner, which meant we could sample some of the cocktails I’d been tempted by (but resisted) at lunchtime. That’s when the choosing really got difficult. There were some classic old-school cocktails, like the sidecar, which is a long-time favourite of mine, and sangria, which my dinner date opted for. Then there are the house cocktails; while there was only one house cocktail for each type of liquor (vodka, gin, tequila, bourbon, rum), they all sounded absolutely fantastic.

I only managed to narrow it down to the gin (with cucumber, lime and mint), the tequila (mixed with herbs and fresh grapefruit juice) or the bourbon (sounding something like a whiskey sour but with an original twist). It was my helpful server that pushed me in the direction of the gin cocktail — she was that enthusiastic about it. The others will have to wait for another time.

The difficulty choosing continued to the dinner menu, where we decided to share “mad beets,” a lovely stack of fresh raw beets layered with pumpkin seed pesto and a sweet pepper “cream” sauce. Very refreshing, and just right to go with our cocktails.

I could have tried any one of the main courses, from the trout with spiced butter, roasted squash and grapefruit mayo (never heard of that before) to the zucchini tagliatelle (that’s zucchini, sliced super thin and treated like noodles, with a sauce of roasted garlic, wine, olives, tomato sauce and arugula) or Portobello mushroom ‘steak.’ (For those of you who’ve never tried a Portobello mushroom in place of a steak or burger, give it a try. It is surprisingly ‘meaty’ and satisfying). Then there was the quinoa and spinach ‘risotto’ (I’m a sucker for risotto) and fried Halloumi (we covered that already). So out of six options, I had narrowed it down to five, and the only reason I’d taken the walleye off my list was that I eat it at home all the time.

I made a deal with my dinner date to share the halloumi and the quinoa risotto. These were by far the ‘richest’ items on the menu, but after our healthy beet appetizers, and heck, the fresh-pressed juices in our cocktails, we felt we deserved it. And isn’t it refreshing that cheese and risotto are the heaviest items on a menu?

Everything about our main courses was rich and satisfying. There’s something about risotto, even quinoa risotto, that carries the comforting heat of the dish right down into your belly — it’s like getting a hug from the inside out. And the halloumi, well, I’ll quote my girlfriend on that: “Wow. That. Is. Amazing.” And the glass of Viognier I had with it, off the wine list (all by the glass) was perfect. Viognier goes with almost anything.

We lingered long over our drinks, and had some tea over a shared chia seed parfait, blended with coconut milk and layered with granola. We were full and satiated, but not overstuffed at all. It’s a nice feeling to have after a three-course meal.

Price-wise, everything felt reasonable as well: our entire meal was under $100 before tip. To feel healthy, well-nourished, and also feel like the meal was a good value? That’s not something that restaurants can often deliver. So thanks for raising the bar, Nosh, and giving us another measure for restaurant quality in Saskatoon.

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