Fern, Flavors From The Garden

Cuisine: Vegetarian
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Maria says…

The bottom line: Great food and beautiful decor!

Sometimes it is tough being a vegetarian! And I am not talking about the fact that you give up meat or other products, but from the standpoint that there are often very little restaurants that cater to this lifestyle. Veggie burgers, salads, vegetable stir fry can get old after a while. Although now I am not fully vegetarian I do like to go out and try different things. I had also been wanting to bring in more food options to everyone that doesn’t necessarily go out in search of a huge steak, so this is how my visit to Fern came to be.

Fern is located in the Plaza-Midwood section of town. It is in a little small tucked away space so if you are not paying close attention you might miss it. I went to Fern for dinner and one of the things that first caught my eye as I approached the restaurant was their outside patio. It is small yet it’s so pretty! The two huge stars that they have hanging out there give the restaurant this warm and dreamy feeling to it. Since it was at night the patio just stood out to me from the get go! Inside the decor is equally as welcoming. The place is small but everything seems to be so well put together. Once I stepped inside I felt like I was stepping into a little oasis…especially from the dreary cold weather outside! The light fixture in the middle and the herb wall that they have (there are actually herbs growing there) are so different from other places I’ve been to. For making the place welcoming and homey I definitely will give Fern high marks.

The food was equally as inviting! To start off the water is cucumber infused so to me it was a pleasant surprise. For sure not something you see many restaurants doing. You could savor the cucumber taste and it just got me ready for the rest of my meal. For my main dish I ordered the Drew’s Vegan Shoyu Ramen. It included ingredients like vegan shoyu broth, shiitake mushrooms, zucchini noodles, fried seaweed, crispy tofu, and coconut foam. I really didn’t have any apprehensions on ordering this dish except for the noodles. My thought was can something really substitute the standard ramen noodles? And the answer is yes! The zucchini noodles have nothing to envy of the regular ones. The provided that sturdy texture that you would expect to have in a ramen noodle soup. Salt really isn’t added to the soup but that is where the fried seaweed comes in. You can pour in as little or as much as you want to provide a little bit more of that salty flavor. I used about half of what I was served and thought it was OK, maybe I should have used more. The broth itself was also flavorful. My favorite thing about the dish was the addition of the tofu. I think it provided the meal with that heartiness that is what you typically get out of adding meat to any dish. Despite being served in the broth the tofu maintained its crispy consistency and it was really tasty! Mushrooms are also one of my favorite things so I found those also delicious. Overall the dish was just a juxtaposition of textures! The sturdiness of the zucchini noodles, softness of the mushrooms, and crunchy edges of the tofu. I enjoyed this vegan meal a lot! Ohh I also ordered with my dish one of their prosecco wines. It came in a mini bottle and I fell in love with it! It was so cute, and the wine was of course delicious…it was from Italy no doubt :)

My friend who came along with me to Fern ordered the Seitan Bolognese Flatbread. Seitan is actually made from wheat but it’s very different from flour or bread. Actually when cooked it maintains a consistency similar to that of meat and is rich in protein. Although I didn’t taste the flatbread my friend said she really liked it. And this is coming from someone who confessed to me that she doesn’t like vegetables that much! The dish did look tasty as well as the crispy potatoes she ordered as a side. Someone who is on a gluten-free diet should probably stay away though since seitan does contain gluten. 

The night that I went the restaurant wasn’t busy so it was great to just sit there and take in the atmosphere of the place. The service was good as well and our waitress was very helpful in telling us what the dishes encompassed. Next time I want a break from meat I know I’ll probably end back at Fern just to check out more of their menu!

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