Out of all the continents, Asia is by far the most vegetarian- and vegan-friendly. European cuisines tend to fall toward the bottom of the list -- at least, as those foods are prepared in this country. So a French restaurant with good vegan dishes is a real find, and while The Bistro at Aspen Grove doesn't have a lot of plant-based dishes, the few on the menu are choice. For example, you can get the veggie croissant sandwich in a whole-wheat wrap instead of that light, flaky, buttery croissant.
The eatery was doing a brisk business on Saturday; the owner standing at the door and greeting various tables, the servers rushing around the mural-splashed dining room, taking orders and delivering food. But despite the frenetic activity, we were given all the time we needed to hunt through the meat-heavy menu for something that would sate our hunger without compromising our principles.
There were veggie-friendly Benedicts, crepes, omelets, quiches, platters, pancakes, pastas, appetizers, salads and sandwiches, including a version with sauteed spinach, artichokes, mushrooms, onions, bell peppers and tomatoes that sounded too good to resist. Swapping avocado for the provolone that normally comes on the sandwich added a hint of creaminess. It was wrapped rather loosely, which made it difficult to eat (probably few people order this in a wrap instead of on the croissant), but a knife and fork took care of that problem.
The thick-cut housemade chips served on the side were just as good as the sandwich, beautifully salted and crisp. And a side of fresh fruit made a good dessert substitute.
The salad that started off the meal was fresh and crisp, and the balsamic vinaigrette tangy and tart on the tongue.
The sign outside the Bistro at Aspen Grove says Cafe de France; the name change should be complete soon, but be on the lookout for the old sign in the meantime. For more information, call 303-347-2424.
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