Dirt Burger, Environmentally-Counscious, French Dip Sandwich, Healthy, Horseradish, Juice Bar, Local, Organic, Patio Seating, Polenta, Proto, Restaurants, Roots Cafe, Salt Lake City, shady trees, Utah, Veggie Burger
Roots Cafe has a very warm and welcoming feeling. Upon approaching the restaurant, you will be greeted by the patio. During this season the patio is surrounded by beautiful flowers, plants, and shady trees. And we didn’t get much farther than this point – who would want to eat inside on such a beautiful day? Even though the patio was definitely louder than anticipated, without a doubt, I am sure this will still be a hot spot for the rest of the summer because of the ambiance which it offers. This would be a great place to have a meal with a family member or friend you haven’t seen in a while, have a casual business meeting, or swing by after you pedal around SLC.
Sitting on the patio, we noticed that the serving staff poured the remaining glasses of water on the outside plants. Being someone who likes to recycle and not produce much waste, I certainly took note and really respect and appreciate this simple step in water preservation. Go Roots Cafe for being mindful about our environment.
Our server seemed overwhelmed by how busy it was, which was it really that busy?!?! Before I showed up, she asked my guest if she was ready to order or if she wanted to wait. Of course she informed the server that she would wait. HELLO! Then after my guest slipped away to use the restroom, our server approached our table again and asked, “What will you have?” I was not impressed. This was a table of two. I was stunned and politely requested that I would like to look at the menu and at least wait for my guest before ordering. Still, when we were approached again it was all business. Sigh. It would have been nice to have been offered an amazing drink from their juice bar or even hear about the daily sandwich. This, needless to say, set the tone for our service. I wasn’t interested in interacting with the server from that point on. Too bad. Lucky us – we never saw our server again because our food was brought out by another person.
My guest’s take on her meal: “I ordered The Proto which is a vegetarian take on the French dip sandwich, except instead of bread I ordered it over polenta. And it came with a side salad. I had ordered this dish on a previous visit but this time I was craving polenta so I thought I’d give it a shot. The colors were beautiful – dark brown from the mushrooms, bright green from the salad, sunny yellow from the polenta. So excited to eat!
“Until I actually tasted it. Honestly, I couldn’t wait to return to Roots after my last visit because they had put an avocado horseradish sauce on it that blended this perfect taste of creaminess and burning spice. But this time, they really skimped on the sauce. The mushrooms, polenta, and salad were good, but I was definitely disappointed because there was no expected horseradish burn.
“It was sort of like going to a concert where you love the band, but leave disappointed because they didn’t play your favorite song.”
My take on my meal: to drink I treated myself to the fresh pressed Cleanser: carrot, apple, beet, lemon, and ginger. Ahhh. Is it possible to get this to-go? I’m sorry to inform Blue Star that they have major competition when it comes to this little niche. For my actual meal, the kitchen presented The Dirt Burger (AKA veggie burger) open-faced so one could see every gmo-free ingredient stacked on top of the bun. Crisp Granny Smith apple slices and Brie were waiting to be smoothed by the other bun, which was weighed down with grated carrots and cucumbers. Underneath all of these nourishing ingredients laid a healthy amount of spicy Dijon mustard aioli spread that seemed as if it was garnished with wasabi. The apple slices were refreshing, as it gave the burger a crunchy texture. Without the apples this menu item would be rather mushy and unappealing. As a side I chose kale chips. These were perfectly airy, crisp and flavorful.
The flavors flowed. Yet, there was too much aioli for my liking. Gobs of flavored mayonnaise just doesn’t do it for me, but in the same breath it is nice to find a food establishment that isn’t afraid of a spicy flavor. Based on my guest and me, I would suggest that we all have our goldilocks particularities, but one suggestion has surfaced due to this: why not serve a ramekin of aioli/horseradish quasi-wasabi goodness along with all sandwiches instead of having the kitchen determining the specific amount?
I am sure another place could offer these or similar dishes, but Roots is offering what no other place is: healthy food which more or less tastes great. Having said that, there was definitely an apparent pride in freshness of the food and dietary needs of their customers. Menu items are gluten-free, vegetarian, grass-fed, cleansing, and organic. My guest and I appreciate this consideration as we actually care about what we eat and where our food comes from.
Still, as much as we enjoyed our meals, something else was still missing – a third flavor. I would have liked some kind of signature sample that could be offered with every dish. I am not sure what that could be, but perhaps something seasonal that can also be the Roots Cafe namesake. Something that I couldn’t simply order by itself, but that would come with every entree to give the plate the umph that it needs.
I would be willing to return when I feel a local, organic, environmentally-conscious, healthy vibe craving.