We had ordered the vegetarian option not because either of us is vegetarian but because it sounded delicious and allowed us to sample more of the cuisine. In fact, in the first course, in which crispy pressed tofu replaced chicken wings in nearly identical sauces of Calabrian chilis, honey, and fried garlic (with soy replacing anchovy as the salty element), the tofu outshone its opposition. If I had been home, I would have licked both plates clean of their sauce.
Fresh garbanzos followed, roasted in their shells, seasoned heavily with sea salt, Szechuan pepper, and Aleppo chili powder. We held the beans in our mouth, pinching the casings until the garbanzos slid out, seasoned by the spicing that clung to the shells. More vegetables arrived--crispy asparagus dotted with chimichurri sauce, toasted bread crumbs, and a dollop of yogurt, and a small pile of deliciously charred carrots stunningly paired with pistachios, lemon, mint, and shavings of fiore sardo cheese.
The noodle course--pad thai--brought another vegetarian/meat divergence. The N'awlins (carnivore) version gilded the dish with robust hunks of pork belly and a fried oyster, while the Farmer's (vegetarian) option scrambled a duck egg into the mix. The main courses brought us rabbit alla porchetta, the meat wrapped in speck, thin slices of cured, smoked ham, or, in the vegetarian meal, smoked wild mushrooms, both flavored with preserved lemon and garnished with fennel and arugula. We divided the two plates equally and, eating the rabbit and mushrooms together, had the best meals in the house.