Like a breath of fresh, Spring air, Cafe Clover has come along to invite indulgence while simultaneously inspiring mindful wellness through food. And therefore guiltlessly, I just can’t get enough of it!
It might be easy to pigeon-hole restaurants that put healthy lifestyle at the forefront of the menu, assuming that the wellness “gimmick” is something mediocre food can hide behind. Or, that the extreme adherence to some niche philosophy means we will be eating lukewarm soup and cashew cheese, which, while delicious, is generally set aside for novelty and definitely not a crowd-pleaser.
All notions of gimmicks are immediately shattered upon entering Cafe Clover – a stylish, vintage space, outfitted with a cozy rear bar and glorious floor to ceiling windows in the dining room that generously flood the space with light.
The key to this menu is that it is exciting. No matter who you are. As long as you like to eat, whether it’s organic acai bowls or oversized crullers that get you out of bed in the morning, Cafe Clover’s menu will have you eager for dinner. Innovative and ingredient driven, Executive Chef David Standridge, makes caring about what you eat easy.
Choosing what to order, however, might pose something of a challenge. The Green market salad items are petite portions, inviting us to order lavishly. The Celery root and rutabaga salad was unexpectedly served in the form of spaghetti-like strands, a light cumin citronette dressing brightening the wonderful earthiness of the two root vegetables.
The ivory lentil risotto, a brilliant rice-less preparation of lentils luxuriating in a silky parmesan and black truffle broth, has become a signature dish for good reason. And similarly, the cauliflower steak—a completely vegan entry—wows diners with its rich, indulgent heartiness, defying all preconceived notions of vegetables as side dishes.
We were also delighted with the perfectly seared, crispy skin salmon – the buttery fish floating over a bright tangle of spaghetti squash, and brought back to earth with meaty trumpet mushrooms and turnip greens. The effectively simple preparation of the brussels sprouts, yielded an addictive side dish that almost stole the show.
Not letting their high aims falter for a second, the dessert menu is equally as exciting and as thoughtfully composed as every other aspect of Cafe Clover. The teff crepe cake a more modern version of the classic mille feuille crêpes, makes brilliant use of the flavorful, gluten free ancient grain. The honey crisp apple tart in a free form pumpkin seed crust was incredibly good, well balanced sweetness with a cool scoop of mild marscapone gelato melting cheerfully over it.
After feasting on the transcendent wholesomeness of the organic ingredients and the “thoughtfully portioned” dishes, perhaps the only vice we can be still be chided for is gluttony. A gluttony I would be happy to revisit any day of the week.
– Ava Fedorov