Almond Berry Porridge – Almond Milk, Oats, Purple Potato Butter, Blueberry Chia Compote, Roasted Almonds, Mapled Sunflower, Coconut Flakes, Berries
Falafel & Hummus Sandwich – Baked Falafel, Housemade Hummus, Pickled Beets, Cucumber, Tomato, Baby Arugula, Lemon Dijon Vinaigrette, Organic Sprouted Multigrain Bread
Crumb Cake Muffin
Vegan Ginger Snap Cookie
Vegan Chocolate Brownie
While many “epicures,” “gourmands” and “foodies” may raise eyebrows at the fact that there are globe-trotting diners who do not regularly go out of their way for Sushi the fact remains, and with that in mind it was not until four years after an excellent meal at Yonaka Modern Japanese that the name Ramir Bolanos DeCastro once again came to mind, a collaboration with Jaret Blinn at CRAFTkitchen making at least one person aware of his Purple Potato concept down in Henderson.
Never actually gone from the local food scene, a rebranding of Yonaka to its current “Yonaka by Chef Ramir” Omakase format following several successful years serving both locals and tourists, Purple Potato sees DeCastro taking on the ever-growing idea of healthy fast-service cuisine, the original actually spawned inside of Yonaka but migrated to 10090 South Eastern Avenue in September 2017.
Located on a stretch of road that has developed tremendously in the shadow of St. Rose Dominican Hospital, a number of locally owned Restaurants fighting for dollars with the chains, guests entering Purple Potato will immediately be welcomed by a friendly staff, polished surfaces and plenty of white, the overall idea one of customization with Bowls, Sandwiches, Salads and Porridge each listed alongside their cost and approximate calorie count.
Priced similar to Panera and other ‘quick casual’ dining choices, a point not to be overlooked considering the farm-fresh Produce, items accounting for dietary restrictions and labor-intense nature of in-house baking, it was after a brief chat with Ramir about the concept and how he hopes to make a difference in America’s expanding waistline that five items were selected, the focus moreso on taste for this visit than any specific macros or ‘diet.’
Able to watch each item as it is prepared behind the counter, a lack of weighing or measuring admittedly making calorie counts questionable when adding the element of human error across various staff members, it was beginning with a warm bowl of Porridge that Purple Potato proved to be very forward thinking, the pairing of warm Oats to several ‘superfoods’ creating a compelling variance in textures that range from crunchy to creamy with items such as Purple Potato Butter, Chia Compote and Maple-tossed Sunflower Seeds all made in-house just like the toppings at Grød in Copenhagen.
Leaving the signature Bowls and Salads to a later visit, the opportunity to go ‘all-vegan’ a welcome challenge after two disappointing attempts elsewhere earlier in the month, it was on outsourced Organic Sprouted Multigrain Bread that crispy Chickpea Fritters were smashed beneath Hummus, fresh Vegetables and lemony Vinaigrette, the Pickled Beets unfortunately a bit overwhelming thought the rest of the Sandwich was not only delicious but also fresh and light.
Seeing patrons come and go, several obviously regulars as they were greeted by name prior to requesting ‘the usual,’ it was with three of DeCastro’s housemade Pastries that lunch reached its conclusion, each Vegan and priced around two dollars with the chewy Ginger Snap and Streusel-topped Muffin both good but Purple Potato’s Chocolate Brownie that Ramir admits follows his preference for being “undercooked” truly remarkable as it one-ups Jean Georges liquid-centered Cake in terms of richness and heft with Chocolate that seems just as high quality for about 1/6 the price.
FOUR STARS: High effort and high quality despite pricing competitive with national brands it is only some skepticism about Purple Potato’s purported Calorie Counts and the fact that some dishes seem unnecessarily complicated that hold them back, the ability to customize based on personal preference certainly remedying the later but at the same time creating a menu that may prove confusing to the sort of diner accustomed to “Quick Casual” convenience.
RECOMMENDED: Almond Berry Porridge, Baked Falafel, Vegan Ginger Snap, Vegan Chocolate Brownie.
AVOID: Pickled Beets unfortunately taste straight-from-the-can and threaten to overwhelm everything they touch and Pastries rotate daily, so some items may not always be available.
TIP: 10:30a to 8:30p with online ordering via Yelp, a custom App or E-mail coordinated Catering all available in addition to phone orders and delivery.
WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.