29 March 2011

Restaurant Review: Chu Chai, vegetarian Thai restaurant

Chu Chai, a vegetarian Thai restaurant, is located at 4092 St-Denis in the Plateau, Montreal's hip and happening borough.

Initially I thought it was vegetarian-friendly, like many Asian restaurants, when my boyfriend suggested going for dinner there this past weekend, but he explained that everything on the menu is vegetarian. The difference is that the dishes look and taste like the Asian meals vegetarians had given up in favor of a less-cruel lifestyle.

When we first arrived at the restaurant, the staff was professional, friendly and accommodating. The service continued to be excellent throughout our meal, as well as very prompt in regards to taking our order, water refills, and bringing us our food.

The restaurant itself is very chic, classy and modern. Perfect spot to celebrate a special occasion with a group or for a romantic date night. No official dress code, but it's a good idea to go at least business-casual; no sweatpants.

I was very impressed with the menu. A wide variety of appetizers, salads, and soups to start off with. The main courses are divided into Vegetarian Chicken, Vegetarian Fish & Shrimp, Vegetarian Beef, Tofu, Vegetarian Dishes, Noodles, and Rice. Every Thai dish you might have thought you could never have again has probably been adapted for this menu. If you have any questions about a menu item, the staff is very knowledgeable and are happy to provide information.

We ordered "Chicken" with Sweet & Sour Sauce, Tofu with Fresh Ginger, Mango Salad, and Hot & Sour "Shrimp" Soup with Coconut Milk. Every dish was presented beautifully and they were absolutely delicious! I enjoyed every bite, as did my boyfriend who isn't vegetarian. There was a unique dessert menu as well; the fried bananas with ice cream were a hit!

The quality and taste of the food will impress any meat-eater. The crowd itself is a testimony to that; there were several family dinners happening and it was obvious that some of them were skeptical of a vegetarian restaurant, but nodded with approval once they tried their meals.

Overall, it was a great dining experience at Chu Chai and I would definitely recommend it to friends and family.

For more information, visit their website (French) http://www.chuchai.com/

Or check out the bilingual menu: http://www.chuchai.com/upload/pdf/carte_restaurant.pdf

Tanya Ayala | @tanya_lua
Tanya is a full-time student at Concordia University, pursuing a BA in Political Science & Professional Writing. She was initially inspired to become vegetarian because of the health benefits, but after watching Food, Inc. and Earthlings, and reading Eating Animals, she realized that her lifestyle had the potential of improving the environment and animal rights.  Follow Tanya on Twitter and on Tumblr.

Photo credit: Tanya