Uptown’s all vegetarian restaurant has a totally new menu and a new executive chef (who eats meat!)

On the new menu: pan-seared tofu with farro, harissa, and a Moroccan vinaigrette

On the new menu: pan-seared tofu with farro, harissa, and a Moroccan vinaigrette Fig + Farro

Patrick Scott Moore has a carnivorous confession to make.

“I’ll be honest with you, I taste all of the stuff here,” says the new executive chef at Uptown’s entirely vegetarian restaurant Fig + Farro. “But I sometimes run across the street and get a dozen oysters for lunch.”

Before you grab your pitchforks and skewer the chef like a cherry tomato atop a bed of mixed greens, you should know that while he may not be a vegan, Moore is a healthy guy. He eats local. And he’s spent close to 20 years of his culinary life focusing on sustainable sourcing.

So when Fig + Farro announced that they were looking for a chef—and noted right up front their goal to help diners reduce their carbon footprint through plant-based eating—it was enough to entice him south from Duluth, where he was most recently a consultant for the restaurants Pier B-Silos and SOUND. He loved the concept; he identified with the mission.

The Fig team thought it was a good fit, too: “Fig + Farro finally hires a chef!” owner Michelle Courtright effused in a recent release. (They didn’t have an executive chef since opening in late January.)

Now, Moore does have one more admission: “I’ve never, ever, created a completely vegetarian, vegan menu.” But you wouldn’t know it, looking over the totally overhauled (and, dare we say, much more cohesive) list of dishes.

There’s a clever chanterelle ravioli, for which celeriac root has been mandolined to create fine-as-paper “pasta” shells stuffed with the mushrooms and cashew cheese and arugula. Moore repurposed a tamarind marsala that, in a past life, appeared with pork belly, as the perfect accompaniment to crispy tempeh. No yucca fries here, but there are yucca dumplings, with roasted vegetables, radish, cotija cheese, and baby arugula.

Meanwhile, Moore says a raw, fermented lasagna with walnut sausage is the ultimate comfort food, even for a meat eater. “It reminds me of getting home at 2 a.m. after a few cocktails, pulling out the leftovers from the fridge and eating it,” he insists. “You can’t really tell the difference." And there’s also an all-new brunch menu, that—while it won’t be soundtracked by bacon sizzling in a pan—still feels like a traditional brunch would: three hashes, three bennies, granola, grits.

Moore, who previously cooked at the Michelin-starred La Maison Troisgros in France, sees this as a reopening for the more elevated vegetarian eatery. He’s bringing the gastronomical flare he honed cooking for Nicolas Cage and John Kerry and Tommy Hilfiger during his days spent running a Nantucket catering company here to the Twin Cities. After all, you can get a quick wrap at People’s Organics right there in the neighborhood—this is a more high-end experience for the vegans and vegetarians among us.

“What it really comes down to is, I think that’s what they needed,” Moore says. “The whole idea with comfort food, and their mission, trying to get people that usually eat meat to come in here, how having a vegetarian meal one time helps everything out … those flavor profiles, that’s a way you can get people to eat vegan and vegetarian food.”

He says the menu might go a little more high-end from here, even. “But keeping it fun, and accessible.”

Check out the new daily and brunch menus in full below. 

Fig + Farro
Calhoun Square, 3001 Hennepin Ave. S., Minneapolis