My vegetarian friend eyed the menu at Tar & Roses grumpily. “Such a tease,” she humphed. At first, she had been delighted that an entire section of the menu was dedicated to vegetables, but as she looked closer, she realized that many of the vegetable dishes had meat or fish in them.

“The menu says 'vegetables,' not 'vegetarian,'” I said. “People who eat meat like vegetables too. It's not like you own the entire genre.”

She shouldn't have fretted. It is exceptionally easy to eat well as a vegetarian at Tar & Roses, the restaurant that was the subject of this week's restaurant review. Despite some anchovies in the cauliflower and pancetta in the squash, the veggies menu offers lots of delicious options: roasted eggplant with buratta, wood roasted corn with goat cheese, baby carrots with currants and creme fraiche.

From the small plates menu, gnocchi with asparagus was one of the best dishes of all the meals I had at Tar & Roses. My friend ordered a dish of ricotta and corn ravioli, which helped round out her meat-free meal, but was too sweet for my tastes — making a good case for sweet corn pastries but not pastas.

As I went for a third bite of the gnocchi and asparagus, my friend shooed away my fork. “You've been eating meat with that fork. I don't want it near my food.” I think she was just keeping the good stuff for herself.

You can read the full review of Tar & Roses here, and check out the Undercover Vegetarian archives for more advice on eating meat-free at L.A. restaurants.

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