Given the torturous heat this summer, we would have done anything to thwart climate change, including reducing our consumption of animal products. Fabrik is entirely vegan, and given that cuisine’s often-less-than-gourmet image, we expected something sincere and homey. But surprise, surprise: The attitude is sincere but the presentations are artful and complex. Sure, the reservation pre-read email is a little precious and the tiny dining room with open kitchen is still very plain (the artwork had yet to go up on our visit). However, our tasting menu (five or seven courses are offered, with optional wine pairings) was relaxed and our server, who was also one of the restaurant’s co-founders, was charming. Highlights included a diminutive tart of beets, vibrantly delicious and a touch sweet in a delicate crust. We also loved the tomatoes prepared several ways, tiled with a lacy, crunchy topping. Along the way there were slips—the mushroom yakitori course had been burnt on the grill and several other items were extremely oily—but low points were balanced by inspired touches, like a burst of bright yuzu in a dipping sauce for the excellent sourdough focaccia and a tingle of crushed Szechwan peppercorns sprinkled on beautiful moons of parsnip-filled pasta. When dessert came—starring addictive coffee-maple soft serve–style ice cream—it was hard to tell it had been made without dairy products.
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Innovative plant-based fine dining in a tiny East Austin venue.