Thursday, October 21, 2010

Bull City Vegan Challenge- Aliva's

I was so impressed by the first Bull City Vegan Challenge restaurant we tried, that I had high expectations for the remaining places. It is unfortunate that I started on such a high note, because I want to be fair in my assessments of the other participating restaurants. It would, however, be hard to match the level of taste at Beyu Cafe'.

It was time for restaurant number two, so my Mom, John, and I met for dinner on a Sunday night and decided to try Alivia's. I had already contacted the restaurant and found out that I could eat both of the dishes. Alivia's entered a salad and entree into the contest and we were pleased that the two dishes were listed on the first page of the menu for all patrons to see.

  • Salad- Mango, avocado, and mixed greens
  • Entree- Mediterranean vegetable platter with roasted red pepper salsa

John decided to get the entree and I ordered the salad. The plan was to share our dishes. Our food came out rather quickly and they got John's order wrong. They brought two of the salads. The waitress was very kind about it and said that the kitchen made a mistake and that John's order would be out shortly. The kind also let us have the salad for free because it would be discarded otherwise.

As we waited for John's entree, we started on our salads. The salad consisted of spinach and other mixed greens, tomatoes, onions, mango, and avocado. Neither salad had any dressing and we thought it was odd. I don't want a mountain of dressing, but I want a little something. The salad had a good combination of fruit and vegetables, but it was not worth the $9.50 or so that was listed as the price. I love eating salads as a meal, but I like them to be hardy. My recommendation would be to add dried fruits or nuts and please add dressing!

Mango salad- pic taken from BCVC page

We finished our salads and were still hungry. I started to wonder if I should have ordered the main dish in addition to the salad. John's entree finally arrived to the table and it was not like the picture on the menu (see below). John received half of the portion in the picture. I only took two bites because I knew he would be hungry. Heck, I was still starving! The vegetables were cooked well and the salsa/sauce had a pleasant flavor, but this dish needed more to it and less olive oil! We would have liked the dish more if it contained more of the salsa/sauce, less of the olive oil, and steamed brown rice/wild rice.

Entree- pic taken from BCVC page

I need to add here that the dish was $11.50. I don't mind paying that much for a complete entree, but this should have been an appetizer with a reduced price! If you add the entree price to the salad, you are looking at a dinner of $21 per person. Again, I don't mind paying that price, but not when we were given only about $5 worth of food. Needless to say, we walked away hungry.

Afterward, we went home and had popcorn, had rice crackers and dip, and John made himself a veggie burger. The only thing that made this dinner worthwhile was the lovely wait staff at Alivia's. They were so kind and accommodating to us. John ended up getting his entire meal for free!

On a scale of 1 to 10, I rate this dinner as a 5. The food had taste, but lacked substance and completeness. The price was extremely high for the ingredients, preparation, and portions provided.

I don't want to dissuade anyone from visiting Alivia's. They are part of the vegan challenge and should be supported. With constructive criticism, Alivia's can turn their dishes around and provide healthy and satisfying dishes! Please, don't forget to vote!


Jim Penny said...

"I don't want to dissuade anyone from visiting Alivia's."

I think you just did, not that I really needed the push.

One might expect that an establishment producing meals like this would do a little better, but it sounds like the style here is to favor form over function, the supposed function being to sustain life without sending the diners to popcorn and veggie burgers!

Hannah said...

The dishes look lovely, so it's a shame the flavor didn't quite measure up. It's all the more disappointing when the price seems overinflated, too! :(

VeggieAmanda said...

It is a shame that the prices are so inflated. They just need a little help to push them in a direction where the dishes might actually be favored by restaurant goers.