Long-time readers will know that I really want to like the Alchemist. And there are already some legitimate reasons to like it–the service is great, the atmosphere is nice (particularly since they seem to have curbed their habit of playing music with the express purpose of deafening diners), and it’s close enough to where I live to feel close, yet far enough away to be lazy and drive, which I also like.
But in the past we’ve experienced some real food flops there, not least of which being the really limited options for vegetarians (never mind vegans). While they’ve always had at least a couple of things for veggie-heads to order, they’ve often fallen into the trap of offering multiple veggie dishes with the same main ingredient–say, both the appetizer and entree featuring mushrooms, or a big pepper, or tofu chunks.
In fact, the last time we went–and this was quite a while ago–we filled out a comment card to that effect, and our server came back to the table to tell us how firmly she agreed with our sentiments.
So imagine my delight when I got an email from the Alchemist mailing list informing me that they were unveiling a new menu–one specifically designed with more options for vegetarians.
Although I was sort of ravenous, we decided to both just get a salad and an entree each, rather than split an appetizer. (We totally could have, though, as the menu now features a brie & spinach dip and eggplant satay.)
We each had the field greens, which were perhaps overdressed (something I’ve lamented in the past) but nonetheless quite tasty, and with much better tomatoes than my last tomato encounter there.
Entrees are where the new menu really shines, particularly for vegetarians: 3 out of the 4 flatbreads are vegetarian, along with 3 of the entrees and two of the sandwiches. Sig Fig opted for the TLT–“slightly fried tofu with honey Dijon chipotle spread on whole wheat bread” (and, you know, the L and the T) with jicama slaw, which she enjoyed but wasn’t writing home about necessarily.
I opted for the pulled pork sandwich with sweet potato fries–the only person possibly more excited about the addition of sweet potato fries to the Alchemist menu was our waiter–and couldn’t have been happier. Extremely tasty sandwich, good fries, and a small portion of that tasty jicama slaw.
I want to mention again how great the drink selection is. Aside from offering their own ale, they rotate featured beers pretty regularly, and offer some that are hard to find elsewhere–like the extremely tasty Rapscallion Honey Ale.
Their dessert menu also sounded fantastic, but we were sort of full and had to pass.
Bottom line: the new menu is much better, the service is still excellent, and my eardrums are intact.