Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Vegan Restaurant Review: Lirio's Italian Restaurant in Weston, FL

On Christmas, Crackula, Crackula's parents HairShare, my mother, and I went to Lirio's Italian Restaurant in Weston, FL.  This was the first time I went to a restaurant since going vegan, so I wanted to make sure that everything went smoothly.  I muted my computer volume and braved the website.  I decided upon pasta primavera.  After eating there, I realized that because the pasta is "homemade", it's probably not vegan, although it's possible that they might buy whole wheat pasta that happens to be vegan.  Being a new vegan, I'm not used to having to constantly over-analyze ingredients yet.

Everyone was eating cheese-laden salads.  I was pretty sure that it would be nearly impossible to avoid cheese, since all of their salads contain cheese or other animal products.  I wasn't going to count on Lirio's to know what was in their salad dressings.  They have two soups listed on their menu plus a soup of the day.  I asked the waiter what was in each of the three soups, but he told me that one of the two soups listed was the soup of the day.  Ummmm?  Sigh.  I explained my concerns and he said that they had minestrone soup, which contained no animal products whatsoever.  I ordered that before ordering my pasta.

What ultimately arrived at our table can only be described as bacon soup.  The waiter had warned me that the pasta e fagioli soup was made with bacon, but he assured me that there was no bacon in the minestrone.  When he came back, I complained about the large chunks of bacon in my supposedly vegan soup, and he said he would check with the kitchen.  Turns out the people in the kitchen mixed the two soups.  On the bright side, our waiter was extremely apologetic.  The second half of HairShare was cawing in the background about people that are allergic to bacon, but the waiter astutely said that he was more concerned about vegetarians.  It's funny that a Jewish woman whose son dated a vegetarian couldn't come up with any better reason not to eat bacon other than an "allergy".  Can you really be allergic to bacon?  The first half of HairShare then began arguing about whether they had a friend who actually is allergic to bacon.  That's when I inserted my mental earplugs.

After waiting a very long time, the main course came.  What I received was wheat angel hair, drowning in olive oil, seasoned with garlic, and a few stalks of what looked like frozen zucchini, squash, and carrots.  The flavor was OK, but there was way to much oil and the lack of vegetables made me think that this wasn't really a primavera.  The dish looked as if the kitchen ran out of vegetables, so the workers over-compensated with oil.

Vegetarian Restaurant Review of Lirio's: Other than the bacon soup, the food is great if you avoid the primavera.  The salads are delicious, although they are not the type of salad you could have for a meal.  The Tortellini Pepe is a must have.  This restaurant has a much larger number of vegetarian dishes than the average Italian restaurant, plus the waiters don't look at you like you are from another planet if you tell them you're vegetarian.  On the down side, Lirio's serves a lot of meat, including veal.

Vegan Restaurant Review of Lirio's:  Don't expect to find anything you can eat that is really in the realm of healthy.  There are two vegetarian dishes that do not contain milk, cream, cheese, or butter, but looking back, they probably contain eggs.  These dishes do not have enough protein.  I would have been so happy with an eggless whole wheat pasta with beans, spinach, garlic, and tomatoes lightly sauteed in olive oil.  Such a thing does not exist on the menu, and although the waiters seem to care about dietary concerns/restrictions, the owner never said anything to us about the bacon soup, and the kitchen seems oblivious to the fact that not everyone eats pork.  Although you could maybe have something specially made for you that is vegan, the vegan pickings on the menu are slim to nonexistent.

1 comment:

  1. I can't tell you how many times I have ordered a vegan meal, only to find meat in it! Thankfully now that I'm no longer living in my small hometown, it doesn't happen so often. :)