Introducing: Grasslands, the trendy revamp of vegan stalwart Fressen
Neighbourhood: Queen West
Contact info: 478 Queen St. W., 416-504-5127, grasslands.to, @GrasslandsTO
Owner and chef: Stephen Gardner (Urban Herbivore, Fressen)
The food: Vegan dishes inspired by Northern Mediterranean cuisine, including several hold-overs from Fressen days. The menu is divided into bar snacks, like crispy oyster mushrooms ($11) and corn fritters ($9), and proper appetizers and entrees, like cannelloni with tofu ricotta ($11) and a stuffed seitan roast ($19). As before, dishes are identified as wheat free (w), nut free (n), gluten free (g) and Buddhist-friendly (b).
The drinks: Classic cocktails like old fashioneds ($12) and French martinis ($10), as well wine by the glass ($9–$11).
The place: Gardner has refreshed his old Fressen space with industrial light bulbs and plenty of wood. The narrow room is divided into two sections: at the front is a lounge with tables and stools made from a tree trunk, while the back dining room features dark brown booths with aqua wall tiles.
By the numbers:
• 60 dining room seats, 25 lounge seats
• 12, the years that Gardner ran Fressen before turning it into Grasslands
• 2, the number of maple trees used to furnish the bar and lounge area