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Friday, October 18, 2013

Nashville Food Friday: Sunflower Cafe

 Vegetarian and Vegan food at the Sunflower Cafe in Nashville Tennessee
This might come as a bit of a shock to my regular readers, but I spent about 6 years being vegetarian and I was vegan for about 1.5 of those years. Just because I re-embraced my love of meat doesn't mean that I can't get behind some seriously good vegetarian fare. Honestly, sometimes it feels good to eat something that seems much healthier than bacon (not to knock bacon- just sometimes I can feel my ventricles closing if I eat too much). The Sunflower Cafe, a vegetarian and vegan restaurant in Berry Hill, opened about a year ago. Steve and I checked it out for dinner before a movie on a recommendation from my best friend Jeff, who also happens to be a vegetarian.
Vegetarian and Vegan food at the Sunflower Cafe in Nashville Tennessee
Sunflower Cafe serves their food cafeteria style. Normally I don't like this type of food because mass produced items are never as good and they lose their flavor the longer they sit in the trays. But for some magical reason, the food at the Sunflower Cafe didn't taste like regular cafeteria style food. Maybe it's in the cooking, I don't know. Basically you look at all the goodies down the line and pick what you want. Our server was very nice and super helpful. I asked for recommendations and I got them in abundance. Nothing makes me happier than when I encounter a genuinely affable server.
Vegetarian and Vegan food at the Sunflower Cafe in Nashville Tennessee
The decor is simple, bright and clean. Long dining tables reminiscent of college dining halls populate the place. I dig this set up because it allows you to make new friends if you choose. This might be the cleanest restaurant I have ever stepped foot in. Everything was SPARKLING, even the bathroom. Plus, I totally love the little Sunflowers they have dotted around the place.
Vegetarian and Vegan food at the Sunflower Cafe in Nashville Tennessee
I chose the the tofu buffalo sliders with sunflower rice and sweet potato casserole. Each night there's a rotating cast of entrees and sides. You have an option to pick an entree and two sides, or a whole bunch of sides as your meal. The food bar was packed with tons of options- making the decisions hard! I enjoyed the sliders and was impressed with the crisp layer of breading they were able to get around the tofu. It created a really nice crunch. Since I like spicy food I think they could stand to put a bit more spicy buffalo sauce on the tofu. I liked the bread to filling ratio of this dish and the blue cheese dressing just knocked it out of the park. Buffalo sauce and blue cheese are a match made in heaven. The sunflower rice was just OK. I enjoyed the nice crunch of the sunflower seeds, but besides that it didn't have any distinct flavor. The sweet potato casserole was hearty, thick and sweet without making your teeth hurt. Overall, I was really impressed with this plate and what turned out to be a huge portion.
Vegetarian and Vegan food at the Sunflower Cafe in Nashville Tennessee
Steve had the Thai ginger tofu over sunflower rice with a side of sweet potato casserole (great minds think alike). I really liked the curry. It was thick and had a lovely creaminess about it. The tofu was firm without being hard, a difficult line to walk when it comes to soy. Both Steve and I ordered kombucha on tap from tealixir. I keep ordering it, so I guess I like it.

Overall I really enjoyed my experience at Sunflower. The food was fresh and there were tons of options. The staff was friendly and helpful, and they keep the space itself super clean. The best part was the fast service; we were able to make our movie with no problem!

Sunflower Cafe on Urbanspoon

8 comments:

  1. Glad to see this post! My cousin is vegan and my sister is a strange nearly-vegetarian who eats chicken, so this is a someplace I will keep in my back pocket for when they come to visit. It surprises me that Nashville isn't more vegan/vegetarian-friendly, that is I feel like most of the restaurants are all foodie venues with lots of pork belly and whatnot.

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    1. I'm totally ok with the overall amount of pork belly in Nashville, but I get what you are saying. :)

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  2. i loooooove that place! travis always gets the sampler plate so he can have a little bit of everything. they have a kale salad with tahini dressing that is incredible.

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    1. I didn't even see the salad! Ok, next time I'm going to get that!

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  3. I went to that place for the first time a couple months ago. LUH-HU-HUVVED it. It's funny because I didn't know it was a bar-choose-your-entree type set up, so I walked in and just stared blankly at the guy behind the counter for a minute before managing, "Um, how does this work?" I agree that portions were much bigger than expected and the food was just top notch. How about that "soda" bar with all natural sodas instead of your every day Coke/Pepsi products? A lovely place.

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  5. this is so close to me— i really need to eat here! i am some sort of former vegetarian that loves vegan food but also enjoys fish at home and sometimes trying local meat when it's free?! I dk— i just love good food but tend to stick with lighter options which usually means meat-free for me. i will keep this place in mind next time i'm in an indecisive mood and need one million options at my fingertips!

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  6. My daughter and I stopped here for their sodas a few months back, and I've been curious what the food was like. Thanks for the report!

    --Grant, from Marie, Let's Eat!

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