I recently made reservations at Veritas Tavern in Delaware for a vegetarian-tailored tasting menu. The experience was fun, social and surprising, as dining out should be.
A few months ago in GQ, chef and restaurateur David Chang urged readers to submit to their local chefs by way of tasting menus-a series of small plates, thoughtfully prepared, portioned and plated, that represent the sensibility of the kitchen and the greater purpose of the restaurant. Chang recounted some good and bad experiences with these kinds of pre-fixe meals, ultimately conceding they are the best gauge for determining whether or not a restaurant is for you.
When we order a tasting menu, we forfeit a little bit of control by placing a little more faith in the kitchen. I think Americans are learning to like this process, but it can be an adjustment, especially for those with dietary preferences.
I recently made reservations at Veritas Tavern in Delaware for a vegetarian-tailored tasting menu. The experience was fun, social and surprising, as dining out should be. Eight courses spanned two easy hours. Chef-owner Josh Dalton delivered each dish, explained its origins then left me and my dining companion to snack. Most importantly, our menu was not a stripped-down version of Veritas' daily small plates menu. Instead, Dalton and his team made the most of their food stock so as to offer a well-rounded, protein-packed dinner.
The tasting menu is $45 per person, and you'll need to make reservations for a special menu. Weeknights are your best bet, as Veritas only offers reservations until 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
An overview of the menu:
Course 1: A fresh, springy onion bloom, bound in a strand of twine, served with a house ranch-style dressing (basically, Dalton's take on a deep-fried onion blossom).
Course 2: A thick coconut curry served with pressure-cooked, caramelized carrots. The curry was bright in color and flavor and delicate in texture. This may have been my favorite course.
Course 3: Tender gnocchi served with shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano, fresh peas, microgreens and pesto
Course 4: Crispy mushroom toast with sunflower greens, house-made Snowville Creamery ricotta and a sharp vinaigrette spiked with red Flemish sour ale. We received small, complimentary pours of the ale, which really accentuated the vinaigrette when I went back to the toast.
Course 5: Beet-juice risotto served with mascarpone. The dish was bright and sweet, not earthy, from the mascarpone also worked into the risotto. This was another favorite.
Course 6: Farro served with root veggies, an herby onion jam and a buttery, lightly seared green onion. This was the flipside of the fifth course, with strong, earthy flavors. Dragging the veggies and farro through the jam made this one of the most fun courses to eat, too.
Course 7: House ravioli served with peas and a hearty, not watery, mushroom broth that was good enough to sip neat.
Course 8: For dessert, brown butter, rum and banana ice cream topped with a scoop of cotton candy, which I appreciated for its texture more than its flavor.