HOGTOWN VEGAN (834 Bloor West, at Shaw, 416-901-9779) Open Monday to Thursday noon to 9 pm, Friday noon to 10 pm, Saturday 11:30 am to 10 pm, Sunday 11:30 am to 9 pm. Unlicensed. Access: one step at door, washrooms in basement. Rating: NNN
Though there's a prominent picture of a pig over the door, the only animal bi-products served at Hogtown Vegan are of the mock variety.
And so we get very good soy burgers dressed with chopped lettuce, pickle, house-made mayo and a whack of dairy-free Daiya "cheese" on the proverbial sesame seed bun sided with skinny salted fries, like some Big Mac from a parallel universe.
The ersatz Reuben (both $11) on toasted pumpernickel comes tiered with more phony fromage, a heap of sauerkraut and surprisingly meaty "pastrami" fashioned from shaved 'n' deep-fried seitan, its side of wilted collard greens not that dissimilar from those served at Hardy's.
Up at Hardy's, they might offer loin of pork on the Caesar salad, but here the similar greens ($7 starter/$9 main) arrive riddled with rubbery tempeh baco-bits. Best to wash away their memory with a glass of house-made lemonade ($2.50) and a slice of extraordinarily rich flourless - and gluten-free, like much on the card - chocolate torte ($7).