Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Restaurant Review: WaterCourse Foods

"WaterCourse Foods is proud to serve a 100% vegetarian menu. Our style of comfort food has won over the hearts and stomachs of people from all types of dietary backgrounds. The greatest compliment we hear (and we hear it often) is when a initially reluctant patron, who was dragged in by their spouse or kids, says they never thought they would eat vegetarian food and now WaterCourse is their favorite restaurant."

Last night Mark and I made the trip out to Downtown Denver to try out Denver's most popular vegetarian resaturant: WaterCourse Foods. I had heard nothing but good things ablout this restaurant for years, so we decided to give it a try. Visiting their website before heading out, I was comforted by their statement "We speak fluently about allergies, just let the wait staff know of your special requests". Their menu covers breakfast, lunch and dinner and is mostly comfort food, but very eclectic.

I was pleasently surprised that although they do not specify the gluten free items on their website, the gluten free items on their menu are clearly marked with a 'squiggle' next to the name. Yippee! Our server, Carly, was very pleasant and was well versed in the menu and what was what. I ordered the Polenta Crusted Portobello Cap, which was crispy and delicious, covered with a chipotle aioli served along side cooked carrot 'fries', brown rice, home made pico de gallo and sliced avocado. Every bite was delicious, and I was satisfied, but not over-stuffed at the end. Mark-o decided to step outside his (and my) comfort zone by trying the marinated Tempeh Scallopini dredged and fried in it's own mushroom gravy, served along with mashed potatoes and steamed chard. At first, Mark was unsure about his dish. His first comment was 'this tastes like earth'. I had to laugh at him and then try it out for myself. I dug in and was really surprised...it tasted great! I even offered to trade him plates, but he decided to stick through it. By the end, he was happily saying that the tempeh had grown on him, and he really enjoyed the nutty flavor and texture. The one thing he consistantly did not like was the steamed chard, which he said tasted bitter.

"Polenta Crusted Portobello Cap"

WaterCourse foods also has a full service bakery that supplies their desserts. On the website, it boldly states: "WaterCourse Foods Bakery has employed pioneers and scientists, dreamers and career bakers. In order to create a baking program that matched the innovativeness and quality of WaterCourse Foods Restaurant, we went through much trial and error to come up with the incomparable product we now offer. Our highly skilled and motivated bakery staff is the industry leaders in gluten-free and vegan baking".

We decided to take home one of their gluten free 'Scout Cookies', made from coconut and chocolate (and I think some nuts). It wasn't until I made the comment "this looks just like a Samoa girl scout cookie" that I realized that's the reason it is called the Scout! Haha! We got home and gave it a try. Eh...it was ok. I guess I was expecting the real girl scout cookie taste, which I did not get. Unfortunately, the flavors were a bit dull and muddled together. I never like to say the phrase 'for being gluten free and vegan, it was ok', but in this case, it fits. I want gluten free and vegan to taste better than the original. Sometimes I think my standards might be too high.

Anyhow, we love WaterCourse, and we will absolutely return. I highly recommend them if you are in the area!


Emilia said...

That restaurant sounds great and I'm glad you had a good eating out experience. Food allergies are getting so common these days that luckily many restaurants take them into consideration.

I have gotten very scared of eating out since I've gotten sick so many times because of gluten contamination.

Tempeh does have a "earthy" taste in my opinion too!

Sarah said...

Oh my goodness! If I ever go to Denver, I'm definitely stopping there. Thanks for the review!

Tiffany said...

I am always weary of eating out as well, Emilia. I have gotten sick too many times for me to feel comfortable, but since they are so well known around here for their care, we thought we give them a shot. It worked out very nicely :)

No problem, sarah! Thanks for visiting!

GFTiffany said...

I wish I lived closer to Denver! There are so many great places down there!

Sally Parrott Ashbrook said...

Sounds like a great restaurant! I'm glad you had such a positive experience.

Perhaps you could take this as inspiration to create a gluten-free, vegan Samoa recipe for us. ;)

Tiffany said...

GFTiff-This is one of the best, for sure :) If you're ever in the area, make sure to try it out :)

Sally- You crack me up!! I'll look into making that samoan recipe for you...LOL! Actually, I know a lot of Samoans, so I really will try something for you. Hehe

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