Loading...
 

Restaurant Review - Sprout Cafe

In the raw: Living foods at Sprout Cafe As I walk into Sprout Cafe, absorbing the earth tones and noting the fervent, intense expressions of the customers, I immediately turn off my cell phone. I sense a ringing phone in here would inspire the level of unforgiving glances usually reserved for cellular disruptions of yoga classes and prayer meetings.Sprout Cafe is a raw food — or "living foods" — restaurant, the next evolution in vegetarian cuisine where nothing is heated above 118 degrees, in order to preserve the food's enzymes, vitamins and minerals. There is no meat, eggs, dairy, white flour or white sugar in any of the recipes. Sounds extreme, huh? Yet for dedicated veg-heads and open-minded diners seeking a culinary adventure, Sprout offers some surprisingly accessible nourishment. BAR FOOD: Sampling the soup du jour and the daily-changing dishes on the salad bar ($7.95 per pound) is a good way to ease oneself into the restaurant's point of view. The depth of flavor in its tomato-basil soup ($3.50) is astonishing. Served chilled (naturally), the soup's creamy consistency is offset by the subtle texture of sun-dried tomatoes. Favorite selections on the salad bar include sweet-n-sour spinach, apple-walnut salad, wild rice pilaf and tasty stuffed mushrooms that remind me (in a good way) of '70s dinner parties. BURGER?: Along with the salad bar, the restaurant offers sandwiches, wraps and the like. Chef/co-owner Jackie Graff borrows the names of classic American favorites — pizza, burgers, BLTs and apple pie — and re-creates each component of the original dish using raw ingredients. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. My least favorite selection on the sandwich menu is the Ummburger ($5.95), a walnut- and sunflower seed-based "burger" with a gummy texture and little flavor. Graff's variations on ketchup, mustard and mayo do little to make it palatable. This is the kind of concoction that gives vegetarian restaurants a bad rap. BURRITO!: The guacamole burrito ($5.95), on the other hand, is a light and savory creation. A cabbage leaf is stuffed with wonderful guac, tomato salsa, protein nuggets (an in-house product of dehydrated tomatoes, nuts and spices that tastes way better than its name would suggest) and julienned vegetables. LET'S ROLL: The nori rolls (65 cents each, minimum order of four) taste like real sushi, and collard spring rolls ($1 each, minimum order of four) come with lip-smackingly good sweet-n-sour and mustard sauces. For dessert, try the sweet, smooth mango-blueberry-peach pie ($4.50) when it's available.VEGGIE HEAVEN: In two short months, Sprout Cafe has quickly become a haven for Atlanta's vegetarian community. Its small organic produce market and well-attended seminars offer support for raw food devotees forced to live in a cruel, carnivorous world.