We all want new restaurants in our respective neighborhoods to succeed. Especially when they fill a niche that has been lacking. Blooming Beets in North Boulder opened a few weeks ago with a promise to fill the Paleo/Primal void. Owner Iva Paleckova is passionate about healthy eating, and advertises a restaurant that serves hormone-free meats and organic vegetables. What's not on the ingredients list? Grains and sugar. If something needs sweetening, Iva's Executive Chef Brittany Kerr uses honey or maple syrup.
First of all let me say that the decor is wonderful. Contemporary and sleek, there is liberal and tasteful use of what looks like reclaimed barn wood. The muted colors and incorporation of kitchenware into the overall look gives the place an uncluttered atmosphere and the open kitchen is clean and simple. When you step through the front door the light and airy environment is appealing and inviting.
The menu, whether you're there for breakfast, lunch or dinner, has items to tempt even the most finicky eater. Comfortingly small, it has been well thought out and doesn't make you go cross-eyed with the effort of wading through choices. At breakfast, eggs are given the same attention as the grain-free pancakes and waffles; at lunch and dinner there are fish, chicken and beef options to please a crowd.
Still, if this restaurant is going to succeed, it needs some work. On the day I was there, the service was slow and inattentive, particularly unforgivable as our waitress had no more than 6 tables to manage. A 'Barker Burger' arrived oozing blood in spite of the fact that it has been ordered 'medium well', and when it was sent back it returned still quite pink and missing the accompanying sauce. When we pointed this out it the ramekin was delivered with good cheer, but, regrettably, at glacier speed. My lunch companion bravely tackled the underdone meat, but it was clear that she didn't enjoy her meal as much as she could have.
Another member of my party had the 'Chicken Marsala' and it was delicious although I found the presentation to be a little rustic. The 'Sweet Potato and Bacon Mash Cakes' were good, as was the 'Beet-Ginger-Citrus Bisque'. For dessert we shared the 'Chocolate Lava Cake' and it delivered a strong punch of antioxidant-rich chocolate which satisfied all of us. Still, I found myself thinking that nothing we'd ordered was exceptional. Good, but not great.
One of my companions asked out server how they made the 'Sweet Potato Cakes' and, delightfully, she was quick to offer recipes of any menu item we wanted which arrived printed on 3" x 5" pieces of colored paper. It was a lovely touch, and spoke of a generosity of spirit from the owner as well as the kitchen. After all, sharing good food is one of life's greatest pleasures. Having it be healthy food makes it even better. I am hopeful that Iva and her team can smooth out the bumps of my first visit and get into a groove which will ensure their success in our demanding Boulder market.