Muse Launches City’s First Vegetarian Tasting Menu
Let’s face it, Calgary is not the land of vegetable-focused plates. As much as we try to shake off our steak-and-potatoes mentality, it is the foundation of Alberta dining and although we’ve come a long way from a well-done steak, our restaurant menus are typically rooted in meat. That being said, it is now 2014. Our palates are more adventurous than ever. With the offal trend (thankfully) on its way out, it’s time to embrace the other side of the spectrum: vegetables.
Heirloom tomato salad.
Vegetable-focused menus are slowly but surely moving into the culinary spotlight across the country. Just this past year, Vancouver’s vegetarian hotspot, The Acorn, was named one of the best new restaurants in Canada (alongside our city’s own Carino) by Enroute magazine. If that accoldade is any indication, I’d say Canadians are in for a produce-centric year in 2014.
This past fall, Muse announced that it would begin offering a vegetarian tasting menu – a first for our city when it comes to high-level dining. While there are a few decent-quality vegetarian establishments in Calgary, one can’t help but argue that there’s been lack of locations offering a more refined experience for those opting for plant-based diet.
Muse’s executive chef, JP Pedhirney is now taking on vegetables in a whole, new light. Known well for his great balance of molecular gastronomy melded with traditional flavours, diners are now able enjoy either a five- or eight-course tasting menu focused on seasonal vegetables executed in unique ways.
A fresh take on autumn pumpkin soup.
His interpretation of an autumn pumpkin soup sees light and bright accents like lemon, coconut and pickled apples, making for a refreshing start to the tasting menu experience here.
So, could meat be on its way to pass? Of course not, but plates like Pedhirney’s leek and potato course – baby leeks stuffed with a rich potato mixture sitting atop almond puree, garnished with shaved and pickled radishes as well as beet pearls – just goes to show that the highlight of a meal doesn’t always have to be medium-rare.
This tasting menu only gains savoury momentum, with the chef offering up a sunchoke and scallion pasta dish, ricotta gnuddi with swiss chard and truffles, then followed by two sweet finishes including a spice cake with meringue, crme fraiche, plum and peach.
Like any good restaurant, the tasting menu will adapt throughout the year, changing with the seasons to make use of available local ingredients.
The five-course menu is $60 with wine pairings available for $50 (standard) or $70 (premium); the eight-course menu is $90 with wine pairings for $60 or $90. Full table participation is required for tasting menus.