The Hairy Vegetarian in Jamesburg - Fiddleheads Restaurant

Posted by Steven Russell on Monday, March 17, 2014

One of my favorite things to do is eat out with friends. It’s always interesting to explore the various restaurants in New Jersey. Equally interesting, sometimes exciting, and sometimes awkward, is discovering the vegetarian and vegan options at various restaurants.

I love Fiddleheads Restaurant in Jamesburg. I’ve known owners Brian and Dan for years. They’ve had three really great vegetarian options on their “special” menu for a long time. I’ve had each of them several times and they are always good. Recently friends suggested we go there. While I was in the car on the way I was going through my mind, trying to decide which of the options I was going to have. I don’t even think I decided. We got to the table and Brian was quick to show me the new vegetarian item on their “specials,” a Flatbread Lasagna. I was not only excited but intrigued. I ordered it, of course, and was delighted. I couldn’t stop raving about it to my dining mates and to Dan, the chef.

 I asked owner Brian Blatz to tell us a bit about the process of developing and offering vegetarian items. Here is what he said:

 

https://asoft7100.accrisoft.com/njgaylife/clientuploads/_photos/_1/BrianandDan.jpgOur vegetarian items are listed on our “specials”…they’re not really specials per se, we always have them. You can find them on our Web site at 

 

http://www.fiddleheadsjamesburg.com/DinnerSpecials.html

 

We started featuring specific items targeted to vegetarians about a year after we purchased Fiddleheads, finding that there were a number of requests for them and we had found ourselves cobbling together vegetarian items from whatever we had in the kitchen, which was stressful and did not really honor the customer. We started with a vegetarian jambalaya, which we had for a couple of years, and then once we invented our “Zucchini Cakes” appetizer we got a lot of requests for an entrée version of that, and the Fabulous Vegetarian Plate was born. (Of course a gay-owned restaurant would have to give that name to a dish!) We added the Crispy Tofu with Gingered Vegetables around that time, and even though we are not a pasta restaurant and try to avoid it, we decided to have one pasta dish, so we added the Walnut Penne Pasta. The Flatbread Lasagna is a recent addition, and is my personal favorite…it is made with a lavash bread rather than semolina pasta, and it has crispy baked edges that I just love. Our smoked-tomato bisque is also vegetarian and is not made with any chicken base like most soups, and we have things like the cheese plate and baked brie and lots of fish items that appeal to vegetarians.

 

Our brunch has a lot of vegetarian options: asparagus eggs benedict, vegetable egg scramble, French toast, cheese plate, baked brie, Tortellini with Mushroom Sage Sauce, and so on. Our lunch has yummy things like the Ciao Bello sandwich, the Zuni Sandwich, a tofu stir fry, an Eggplant Napoleon, and a quiche of the day that is sometimes vegetarian.

 

One thing we are not is a vegan restaurant. We find that our demographic has minimal demand for such items, and it is not what people expect of us when they find us. Vegetarians generally do not seek us out; rather, we are an indulgent restaurant for people who want fine upscale food with lots of complex flavors, and the vegetarian items usually are for other people in the party who also want to enjoy Fiddleheads and so we cater to them so that everyone can find something they like on the menu. So, vegetarian is a secondary feature of our restaurant, so that we can serve as broad a population as possible. If there were greater demand for it we would rise to meet it; however, it is not our focus. We are happy to have these dishes available for all tastes.

If you check out Fiddlehead, which you should, vegetarian or not, let me know!

Fiddleheads Restaurant
27 East Railroad Avenue (Rte. 522)
Jamesburg, NJ 08831
732-521-0878
http://www.fiddleheadsjamesburg.com/

  • Daily specials
  • Free WiFi
  • Takeout available
  • Call-Ahead Seating/Ordering
  • Party alcove for up to 20 people
  • Customized Menus
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