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Who needs chicken? Opt for the tofu-and-mushroom Marsala at Roost on Meatless Monday.

Image: Megha Tejpal

When in Roost, do as the vegetarians do and make it a meatless meal. You can thank us later. The neighborhood gem, nestled in a quaint old apartment building on Fairview, has been a Montrose mainstay for almost five years with a fierce focus on vegetarian dishes. And with a farm-to-table menu, the roster of fresh, flavorful modern classics changes seasonally, whether veggie-focused or meat-filled.  

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Brussels sprouts are on fleek.

Image: Megha Tejpal

Chef Kevin Naderi appeared on the national scene courtesy of a 2014 spot on Food Network's Guy's Grocery Games. Unlike Fieri's menus of unhealthy overkill, Roost trades in of-the-moment dishes inspired by flavors of the South, Asia and the Middle East. But it is Naderi's bold take on vegetarian entrees which has us thinking, "Who needs chicken?"

The tofu-and-mushroom Marsala, a vegetarian twist on the Italian classic usually made with poultry, is one example currently on Roost's seasonal menu. A heaping bowl of Paulie's pasta is tossed with chunks of asparagus and artichokes in a mild cream sauce, topped with meaty pieces of crispy tofu and sprinkled with fresh Parmesan. Finishing it is no small feat for one person.

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Doughnuts for dessert? Yes, please.

Image: Megha Tejpal

There are some dishes that guests simply won't allow Naderi to take off the menu, so vegetarians can expect to eat the fried green tomatoes, topped with a colorful corn relish, and the famous Lillo & Ella Brussels sprouts at any time of year. The brussels sprouts, flavored with walnuts, Thai basil, chile and ginger, are especially worth salivating over. Luckily, they play well with practically any entrée on the menu.

What 50-seat Roost lacks in size, it makes up for with sizable portions. Shared plates and family-style dining are the ways to go here. Naderi's use of vibrant, Technicolor ingredients is evident throughout every dish, down to the dessert menu. Opt for the Texas-sized donut holes served with crushed pistachios, salted caramel and coffee ice-cream. With an end like that, it will be one meatless dining experience you won't soon forget.

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