Monday, August 2, 2010
Having passed by A Votre Sante many times, I decided to try this healthy cafe for lunch today because it was a beautiful summer day and the outdoor patio looked so inviting. There are huge umbrellas which shield the outdoor tables from direct sunlight, and since the menu had many choices for both vegans and meat eaters, I figured this could be a good place to come back to with friends.
I chose the Grilled Vegetables Salad, made with grilled vegetables, roasted red peppers, romaine lettuce, tomato, balsamic vinaigrette, feta cheese for $11.95. I added grilled tofu to it for $2 more. The menu selections include hormone-free chicken, pastas, sandwiches, wraps, and breakfast options, all starting at under $10 per entree, so this is a very budget friendly cafe. (I took the top picture with my Sony digital camera and the one below with my Blackberry; which one do you like better?)
Although the service was very friendly and efficient, it took the kitchen a good 20 minutes to prepare my plate, and I heard neighboring tables commenting on the long wait times for their food as well. Once my food arrived, I was pleasantly surprised to find my generous portion of tofu was still warm. Everything was obviously freshly made and market fresh, but there just wasn't enough flavor to the salad and there was no way to add any since there are no salt and pepper shakers on the tables; even the usual pepper mill option that accompanies salad orders in most restaurants was not offered here.
A neighboring table talked about how their spinach entree also lacked any taste other than plain spinach, so I know I was not the only one to find the flavors here overly simplified. It is one thing to allow fresh ingredients to speak for themselves, but it is quite another serve them so naked that they are bland. Many newer cafes excel at this concept, including the totally vegan M Cafe, the casual Tender Greens, and the pantry/market/cafe Curious Palate, so unless I was in this neighborhood again, I would chose another "healthy" cafe.