Dining out with vegetarian friends is always a challenge. You wouldn't think so, but the number of times we have to send something back that has meat/fish sauce, crab or shrimp is unreal.
"Hi, sorry, can we get this changed? We don't eat meat." "Oh, this is vegetarian. There's no meat in this dish." "Um, there's quite a few chunks of crab..." "Yes, no meat." "Right, we don't eat meat OR crab."
Thankfully, places like Fresh, Fressen and Urban Herbivore (review coming soon) are reliable for veggie/vegan eats, but tonight we were looking for less fusion and more straight-up Asian cuisine. Cafe 668 fits the bill perfectly.
Sandwiched between Toronto General and Kensington Market, Cafe 668 is one half of a vegetarian dynamic duo on Dundas St West. (Buddha Vegetarian sits next door - check out Tim's review on that one.)
We stop in, thankful to find a table free in this tiny little place and order up three dishes: two full entrees and an appetizer to share.
Quick to arrive are the Taro Rolls we ordered from the specials on the chalkboard above us. They were delicious. Crispy, tasty and plenty to share.
The side sauce looked as if it was going to be sweet, but as it turns out, my lips are still burning from the spiciness... which though a tad painful, was actually a nice touch.
Thankfully, a fresh (and unlimited) pot of tea helped ease the burning.
"Veggie-beef" Fried Rice arrived soon after. My girlfriend insisted on a meat-substitute type dish so we opted for this. The "veggie-beef", though a little sparse, was actually pretty tasty and mixed with a nice mix of fresh chopped vegetables. The rice itself was light and fluffy -- not overly greasy or heavy as fried rice can too-often be.
A minute or two later the other entree arrived: Broccoli and 3-mushrooms (pictured at the top). The broccoli was pretty average but the mushroom mix was fantastic. If you love mushrooms, you'll love this dish -- pure flavour. I loved it... and really wished it was a little larger!
While I didn't really dig anything on the dessert menu, they do offer a few options. Thai-ish fried banana with nuts and pudding to name a couple.
Budget-wise, Cafe 668 comes up about the same or very slightly cheaper than places like Fresh. Dishes average $9-10 per and appetizers $4-7. Don't expect the fancy interior design here though... just friendly fast service and free tea.
Cafe 668 - 668 Dundas West (East of Bathurst). (416)703-0668. Closed on Mondays.