Have you ever eaten tripe with a Mexican Coke? You will.

Cincinnati Bites
Mark Anthony Salad from Europa

Posted Tuesday, November 3, 2015

When I hear the word, "cleanse" used in conjunction with food, my mind conjures ugly pictures of enemas and colonoscopies. Not very appetizing, right? So when I heard about a new vegan restaurant in Oakley Square focusing on organic, locally-sourced ingredients meant to "cleanse" the body of toxins, I figured I wouldn't go out of my way to try it. But after my girlfriend and I had exhausted our list of nearby dinner ideas one recent weekend, we decided to suppress our meat-loving urges and give it a go.

Rooted Juicery + Kitchen is the brainchild of Cincinnati native Megan Tysoe, an idealistic Millennial who honed her business acumen and culinary skills at Georgetown University and the Natural Gourmet Institute. Her restaurant offers a full menu of healthy sandwiches, cold-pressed juices, wraps, salads, grain bowls, smoothies and desserts.

We stepped into the sleek, bright, white-washed space, which for many years had been the home of a bicycle shop. Renovations to the ample footprint must have cost a pretty penny. Glass-doored refrigeration units lined one wall, showcasing a colorful display of fresh juices, desserts and pre-packaged "grab-and-go" meals. The cold-pressed juice blends are prepared on site and sold in either 16-ounce bottles ($10+) or 2-ounce "power shot" sizes ($5). Free samples are available.

A chalkboard near the front counter highlighted specials, including an enticing vegan quesadilla made up of kale, sweet potato, black beans, caramelized onions and a cilantro avocado pesto/cashew cream drizzle ($9). The mere description had me salivating, so I looked no further.

My girlfriend eyed the butternut squash "mac & cheese" special that came in either a cup or bowl, so she opted for a cup ($4.50) to accompany her twelve-dollar Pesto Sandwich: basil pesto, macadamia nut ricotta, arugula, avocado, tomato, sprouts, balsamic vinegar and cashew dressing served on slices of very tasty-looking multi-grain bread.

To drink, we choose the alkalized, filtered water with lemon. Alkalized water is all the rage in health circles because the water's higher pH level and abundance of vitamins and minerals ostensibly protects against nasty acidity caused by stress, fatigue and exercise. Sure, okay.

Pesto Sandwich Pesto Sandwich
vegan quesadilla Vegan Quesadilla

Despite our reservations, most everything was quite delicious. It's pretty amazing what Rooted is able to do using no meat and no dairy. In fact, when we later reflected upon the tasty pesto sandwich and its side of bright, refreshing slaw, we realized the flavor had tricked our memories into believing we'd actually tasted ricotta cheese instead of something made from macadamia nuts.

My quesadilla was served warm, with a side of pico de gallo. The tortilla was toasty, the filling hearty and earthy, countered with the pleasing bite of the pesto and cashew cream. This entree should definitely remain on the regular menu.

butternut squash mac-n-cheese Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

The one disappointment was the butternut squash "mac & cheese," which tasted nothing at all like the conventional version. Instead, it imparted jarringly sweet, cinnamon notes. My girlfriend only ate a few bites of it, allowing me to finish it off. The more I ate it, the more I enjoyed it, as the texture was very much pasta-like and the dish became increasingly more savory as my olfactory nerves began to tire.

Afterward, we returned to the counter to examine a glass case of desserts. The sweets were all a bit pricey --a universal theme for Rooted-- but it didn't stop us from trying several morsels from their selection ($2-$4 each). Because the sweets lacked dairy and, in some cases, gluten, flavors were often intense and dense. The most memorable were the dark chocolate, almond butter cups and the satisfying "coconut bliss" candies.

candy counter Assorted desserts

As hardened carnivores, we are often dubious of vegetarian or vegan fare in Cincinnati. Restaurants like Rooted + Juicery and Loving Hut are proof that great tasting food doesn't have to come at the expense of an animal. All cynicism aside, we'll be "rooting" for Tysoe's ambitious juicery.

Rooted Juicery + Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Rooted Juicery + Kitchen

Price: Moderately Expensive ($11 - $16 per person)
Service: Good
Rating: 3.0 out of 43.0 stars

Other Recent Reviews

  1. Dinner Impressions: Envision Cinemas Bar & Grill
    -posted Tuesday, January 16, 2018
  2. A Taste of Hawaii: Poke Hut
    -posted Thursday, January 4, 2018
  3. Pizza in Walnut Hills: Fireside Pizza
    -posted Thursday, December 21, 2017
  4. Breakfast and Brunch Review: Wild Eggs
    -posted Tuesday, December 19, 2017
  5. Barbecue Impressions: Bourbon Smokehouse
    -posted Sunday, December 17, 2017
Ratings Legend
four stars = Outstanding
three stars = Good
two stars = Fair
one star = Poor
  • From Natasia Malaihollo about Dope! Noodle and Dumpling Shop:
    Thank you for the review and background on the restaurant history! I was a huge fan of huit and super disappointed when they “closed.” Was wondering what’s going on with this musical chairs of a restaurant strategy so thank you for clarifying!
    posted: Fri., Jan 26th, 2018 @ 6:50 PM
  • From Jeff about Dope! Noodle and Dumpling Shop:
    Thanks for the thorough review! It honestly does seem like a new restaurant is opening every other day..but the thing about the wait staff..they might be getting paid a higher hourly rate because they are only open for lunch. I’ve worked at a restaurant where I was paid $10 an hour but the owner kept the tips, it sucked but sort of made sense for the lunch shift.
    posted: Fri., Dec 22nd, 2017 @ 9:00 PM
  • From heather about Wild Eggs:
    we liked it too - things are fresh and made from scratch and high quality - good experiences all around
    posted: Wed., Dec 20th, 2017 @ 10:55 AM
  • From Cincinnati Bites about Dope! Noodle and Dumpling Shop:
    Thanks for writing, Heather. I definitely like their other restaurants. Lalo's pazole and fish taco are better than Mazunte's, I think. But I agree they are definitely hit-or-miss. I'm still rooting for them, though. There's talent there. :)

    posted: Mon., Nov 20th, 2017 @ 1:30 PM
  • From Heather JOhnson about Dope! Noodle and Dumpling Shop:
    I tried Huit & Lalo and they were both expensive and so mixed - one thing great - another thing barely mediocre. More of the same it sounds like - hits and misses for a really expensive lunch. Nope on Dope.
    posted: Sun., Nov 19th, 2017 @ 12:41 PM
  • From TJ Jackson about Udupi Cafe:
    I do not know if it is truly a match for the product you remember, but Frostop Root Beer is sold at Jungle Jims and is a personal favorite of mine.
    posted: Fri., Sep 29th, 2017 @ 6:00 PM
  • From Jones about Haru Korean Restaurant:
    As a long time reader, I found this review to be one of your loveliest and most enthusiastically vivid. I can't wait to try this place!
    posted: Tue., Aug 29th, 2017 @ 9:48 AM
  • From Jordan about Grand Central Delicatessen:
    posted: Sat., Jun 3rd, 2017 @ 12:16 PM
  • From Tabitha about Tickle Pickle:
    Haha, love your comment: " If you were deemed "different" in high school, dressed "weird" or regularly got beat up only to go on to have a decidedly higher net worth and confidence level than the rest of your abusive, judgmental peers, Northside is your home away from home." I know I saw a Groupon for Tickle Pickle recently - might have to check if that's still available!
    posted: Fri., Apr 14th, 2017 @ 12:33 PM
  • From Tabitha about Chilango Fresh Mexican:
    This is definitely going on the list. Thanks for posting. Do they also have margaritas?
    posted: Fri., Apr 14th, 2017 @ 12:23 PM
Where The Locals Eat featured blog
Cincinnati Web Design | Cincinnati Mobile Web Design