A couple months back I had The Naked Sprout (TNS) for the first time at Taste of Burlington and I absolutely loved it! They served a fantastic raw zucchini dish that was full of flavour and incredibly refreshing. I was itching to get myself down to the actual restaurant after I scraped my sample clean.
Unfortunately we didn't make it in time to partake in TOB - but points for still making it out. First off, let me say TNS is completely outside of my comfort zone. I mean, I loved The Loving Hut, but hated Live Organic Food Bar - and this was definitely in the same ball park. Now why do I keep going back to places like this?
Because I want to be one of those chicks that strolls in after there hot yoga class in her lululemons and devours a quinoa bowl and a green shake with extra shots of chia seeds and wheat grass. I wanna be one of those chicks! You'll find out later why I'm not..
When Suzanna and I walked in - we were pleasantly surprised. I love it when vegan joints sway away from the incense, buddha statues and crazy prints decor and keep it minamalistic. TNS does just this. It was a well designed space - despite the fact that it's in a strip mall.
The menu here is divided between Starters, Salads, Raw Mains and Cooked Main. We started off with the Naughty Nachos ($7.50 starter) - yes that is actually what it's called. It consisted of carrot flax crackers, refried beans, salsa, greens, guacamole and sour cream. We also opted for taco meat, and pickled mangoes for $0.50 each.
Suzanna got the heebee jeebees over what the hell "taco meat" was but me being me - I don't always need to know. The taco came beautifully presented with a copious amount of toppings and was very pleasing to the eye. I loved all the different flavours and the pickled mango added a really nice tang but I couldn't get around the carrot flax crackers. My mouth was saying nuh -uh to the crackers - Suzanna however didn't mind them at all.
I also ordered a glass of The Beat Goes On ($6) - apple, beet, raspberry, strawberry & lemon - no complaints here, this was fantastic! Incredibly fresh, and the perfect balance of sweet & tang.
Next up, came our mains. Suzanna ordered the D'Ambrosio Burger ($15) - chickpea patty, mayo, greens, avocado, tomato with a side of hot potatoes. This dish was interesting - it was definitely an eye opener for the both of us. Meaning, "why didn't we just go for Thai food?" and "what the hell did we get ourselves into" We quickly looked around and realized 98% of the restaurant were 23-35 year old women with their girlfriends yapping away about their intense yoga sesh. We were definitely outside of our comfort zone. But we were already neck deep in lululemon - so why not? She picked it up with two hands and took a huge bite outta that D'ambrosio burger!
It was alright. I found the chickpeas needed a little more spice and a lot more crunch on the outside. The avocado and the greens were super fresh and the potatoes although small in portion were seasoned and cooked well. Don't even get me started on that bun.
Okay, now my turn, I ordered the special of the day which was the Exotic Eggplant Caponata with brown rice pasta. This dish looked very promising. It smelt great and the portion was massive and it just looked like something Suzanna and I could sink our teeth into. Unfortunately it stops there. The flavours resembled a basic pasta dish with pesto minus the pesto - so just crushed nuts and herbs? And cubed tempeh - which I couldn't even recognized. The brown rice pasta was a win though - I could definitely eat that again - with meatballs, or a bolognese.
I needed to kick up the flavours so the waitress offered me this wheat free organic hot sauce. I thought it was pretty cool - tasted just like franks.
So, I've come to the conclusion the whole vegan, raw movement just isn't my thing. I want it to be - but like a bad boyfriend - I just need to walk away and never look back. But I do have to say the service was spectacular and I can see why it is such a hit with the raw/vegan/health conscious crowd. The food is fresh, the menu diverse and the service was incredibly warm and inviting. Even when I told the server I didn't enjoy the tempeh she took a small percentage off my bill to compensate.
So maybe TNS isn't for me - it might be for you! They're definitely doing something right if they're named Best Retaurant & Best Original Cuisine as well as Best Vegetarian in the city.
The Naked Sprout
4040 Palladium Way