All the world is nuts about
R: On a chilling and blustery Saturday night we met our friends Mike and Rosemary for dinner at Fatty's & Company. Warm and welcoming inside, Fatty's has metamorphosed into a chic, mature, and elegant dinner house since our first visit in October 2002.
Z: From its outdoor sign, Fatty's still retains it's stealth vegetarian nature, but their website clearly boasts a "Vegetarian Food and Wine Restaurant" with ample vegan offerings. The menu, too, has evolved from its informal sandwich and coffee house beginnings to an elegant dining establishment that offers well-prepared, upscale cuisine artfully presented.
R: After a recent remodel, the restaurant now seats 62 diners in its cordial, alluring dining room that wears an aesthetically streamlined ambience. Diners won't see the newly expanded and upgraded kitchen, but will reap its benefits with every stunning dish that's served. One new feature is the unique wine-and-dine experience for those who choose to be seated in the L-shaped alcove set apart from the main dining area. Taking center stage and sitting taller than most, is the recycled, highly polished, wooden community table that was once part of a bowling alley lane. Comfortable bar stools surround this table that offers a delightfully cozy spot for small parties or a great opportunity for singles to meet.
Z: Listed on the historic registry in 2001, the art deco Dahlia Motors Building constructed in 1931 stands on the corner of Colorado Blvd. and Vincent in Eagle Rock. Before Fatty's came along, it was an auto repair garage. Some of the building's special details include the floor to ceiling windows, a large garage-style door that rolls up under the ceiling, and shiny black ceramic tiles along the base of the exterior wall. The brick wall inside, now an attractive waiting area, was once a magazine rack during Fatty's early beginnings.
R: Multiple strings of twinkle lights that crisscross the high ceiling offer a warm glow to the restaurant's ambience, while several rows of wine bottles along the service counter display the extensive array of all-vegan wines that have become an identifying feature of the menu.
Z: The menu offers plenty of vegan diversity. The starters, called Monstrous Little Plates that run from $6 to $9, gave us the opportunity to sample a few different dishes from the appetizer section. What fun this turned out to be! On one small plate were the crisp-fried Far East Rolls stuffed with a delicious combo veggie ginger chicken, cabbage, and carrots accompanied with a tasty plum sauce for dipping.
R: A unique, footed, almond-shaped bowl held the Cavulo Nero, a generous sauté of perfectly cooked black Tuscan kale with deliciously caramelized diced red onion. The Potato Tacos, served on a long rectangular platter, were exceptional and cleverly substituted crisply fried potato skins in place of corn tortillas. These little potato boats were stuffed with toppings that included corn, black beans, green chilis, red bell peppers, and onions and were well seasoned with chipotle and tomatillo salsa and generously garnished with slices of avocado.
Z: My favorite was the triangle filets of Blackened Tempeh done Southern style with lively Cajun spices. Accompanying the thick wedges of spicy tempeh was a tiny saucer of lightly sweetened red bell pepper sauce. We shared each of these starters with our friends and agreed they made a great beginning with just enough of a taste to satisfy.
R: The entrees that range between $14 and $18 were even more of a culinary delight and were offered with a choice of soup or salad. The owners, Kim Dingle and Aude Charles, are a vegan-savvy pair and list several of the menu items as "may be prepared vegan." I chose the daily special cup of soup, a vegan White Bean Soup that was so delightfully thick with beans, cabbage, and veggies in a light tomato base it seemed more like a stew. Zel ordered the salad that was highlighted with crunchy toasted sunflower seeds. Both were excellent. My entree selection was the Sloppy Joe, a tasty stew served in a round, deep dish that consisted of a lightly spiced tomato base, beans, diced wheat meat, red bell peppers, and carrots. Sitting on the edge of the bowl was a huge serving of deep-fried puff pastry.
Z: I couldn't resist sneaking a taste of Reuben's Sloppy Joe and can certainly recommend it as a delicious vegan choice. My entrée was a stunning winner. The Chartreuse was gorgeous to look at and deliciously enticing to the last tidbit. Served on a triangle-shaped dish, this creation originated with the Carthusian monks who artistically layered carrots, beets, and celery root over a base of braised spinach. Fatty's chef topped the stack with herb-crusted tofu fillets and finished with a touch of Dijon and mushroom sauce. It was nirvana on a plate!
R: Rosemary chose the exceptional green and golden Vegan Raviolis topped with an awesome sauce of richly seasoned sautéed broccoli and cherry tomatoes. Mike's Roasted Vegetable Salad was the most creatively arranged selection of marinated, roasted vegetables we've ever seen. Tastefully presented on a square platter, the veggies were nestled together in a vertical design with squiggles of balsamic reduction decorating both sides of the dish. One couldn't have wished for a grander selection of vegetables--there were artichoke hearts, eggplant, zucchini, mushrooms, broccoli, green beans, tomatoes, cauliflower, and carrots that were roasted to perfection with onions and garlic.
Z: Our delightful server, Megan, seemed to know we just might be thinking about dessert and arrived with the dessert menus. Desserts are between $5 and $20. Reuben and I shared the Peanut Butter Soy Cream Cup, a rich vegan ice cream topped with indulgent chocolate syrup any chocolate fancier would thoroughly enjoy.
R: Mike and Rosemary ordered the Muddy Duck. Even the name brings a chuckle. This was a soy cream, the vegan version of ice cream, served in a cup and topped with the deep flavors of real organic espresso.
Z: While we were devouring our last spoonfuls of delicious dessert, Kim treated us to a unexpected surprise made on an 18th century candy machine. With a 21st century vegan touch, the fluffy and light-as-air cotton candy she presented to us was made from maple sugar. As we pulled off small bits from the large puff and popped them into our mouths, the gossamer cotton candy seemed to dissolve in an instant, leaving behind only its sweetness.
R: On a return visit I ordered the Vegan Paella nicely presented in a single-serving paella pan resting on a large white platter. This is one special dish I'll definitely order again. Flavorful and abundant, the vegan medley consisted of brown rice, corn kernels, peas, diced red bell pepper, pimiento stuffed green olives, hearts of palm, and oyster mushrooms all well enveloped in great seasonings with just the right touch of saffron.
Z: On this second visit we discovered a real treasure on the dessert menu. The Fudgey is an innovative, spectacular must-have we'll not easily forget. It's absolutely heaven for chocolate lovers and looks like a fuzzy, white, oversized baseball covered in toasted coconut and finely chopped walnuts. Sliced in half, the coconut-crusted sphere revealed its hidden chocolate cake with creamy chocolate filling in the center. One bite and we were both in ecstasy enjoying this ultra-moist, double-rich chocolate cake with an irresistible filling of satin-smooth creamy, fudgy chocolate custard.
R: Fatty's has journeyed a long distance from its inception and has become a charming restaurant with a top-notch menu and a totally vegan wine list. They even have a kitchen herb garden outside the restaurant's alcove door. Our well-trained server, Jacqui, provided excellent service and helped to make our evening a delight.
Fatty's & Company
Reviewed February 2009