Friday, May 21, 2010
I recently had the pleasure of dining at Cafe Allegre in Madison, CT. It's a comfortable yet elegant restaurant located close to the Madison Green on Main Street. The menu is Italian - American, featuring well executed standards such as chicken parmesan, eggplant rollatini, and an array of seafood options. So why would a vegan eat here, you might wonder? Well, the dinner was to celebrate a family birthday, and it was mom's choice. Fortunately, even though there was a vegetarian option of pasta primavera, I chose to request something off menu and was pleasantly surprised.
I highly recommend this option when dining out as a vegan. Scan the other offerings and come up with something that would appeal to you. In my case, I asked the chef if he could create something from the following items: portobello mushroom, cannelini beans, broccoli rabe, and marinara sauce. It felt kinda like I was orchestrating an episode of "Chopped," but in this case there weren't really any exotic ingredients. I always enjoy seeing (and tasting!) what the end result is. Here's how it looked after I drizzled marinara over the top:
The chef at Cafe Allegre handled the challenge well. Not only was the plate gorgeous, but it accommodated my vegan and gluten-free needs and was incredibly flavorful. The broccoli rabe was cooked to perfection with just the right amount of bitterness. It helped that it was soaking in a generous amount of olive oil and sliced garlic. This is a perfect restaurant for vegans and non-vegans alike, as well as those with gluten-sensitivities. It's so nice to find a place to eat with family and friends and feel like a regular person!