Sprout (Review)

New Mount Adams restaurant and market takes food back to its roots

click to enlarge Vegan cabbage soup at Sprout Market and Eatery.
Vegan cabbage soup at Sprout Market and Eatery.

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estaurants that serve locally grown food have become commonplace in Cincinnati and beyond, but Sprout Market and Eatery in Mount Adams raises the concept in a meticulous and exceptional way. 

Sprout opened last month in the old aliveOne spot, on the corner of St. Gregory and Pavilion streets. The restaurant’s lime green exterior stands out from the neighboring bars and nightclubs, as does the chalkboard sign reading, “Stop in for fresh,” positioned outside the eatery.

Inside, a homey ambiance greets customers: an exposed brick fireplace framed with a wooden mantel, festive pumpkins placed on every table, paintings of flowers hanging on the walls and plants growing on windowsills. Before or after your meal, peruse the connected market. It sells a lot of the items on the brunch, lunch and dinner menus, including loaves of Sixteen Bricks bread; Hen of the Woods potato chips, tortilla chips and popcorn; quinoa grown at North Bend, Ohio’s Carriage House Farm; six packs of local beers; Grandola Granola; Snowville Creamery crème fraîche for only $3.50 (two dollars cheaper than Whole Foods); locally farmed produce and wines from all over the world. For Mount Adams residents, the market enables them to shop for fresh goods in the ’hood instead of having to go down the hill.

Also attached to the restaurant is Roots Underground, their downstairs lounge featuring live music on the weekends. You can check out Bluegrass music while imbibing at their full bar and get comfy on pillowed lounge couches.

For dining, Sprout likes to keep things casual. Look over the menu, sidle up to the bar to order, sit wherever you want and then wait for the food to arrive. The dining room offers three types of tables: high copper bar tables, wooden picnic-like tables and regular four-person tables. The bar has 14 rotating drafts on tap — no Bud Light here — including an assortment of local beers (all beers range from $3.50-$6). We stayed in Ohio and chose pints of Fifty West’s Coffee Please stout (made with Madeira’s Coffee Please cold brew coffee) and Athens, Ohio’s Jackie O’s Mandala Chinook IPA. The former was balanced — not too bitter, not too sweet. (Fifty West’s co-owner, Whit Hesser, heads up Sprout’s beer program.) The latter was hoppy and piney.

Executive chef Michael Brown, who worked under David Cook’s tutelage at Daveed’s, runs the kitchen. Sprout doesn’t do small plates, but the entrees and salads are ample enough to split between two people, which is what my dinner companion and I did.

First up was their vegan cabbage soup ($7). On a cold night, the light broth and the perfuming cornucopia of fresh veggies and herbs hit the spot. The soup was not salty and had a sweet and sour kick at the end. Despite having hearty potatoes, cabbage and cranberry beans (pinkish beans) crammed in, the soup wasn’t too filling.

Next, we wolfed down their quinoa salad ($8), embedded in chunks of blue cheese and mixed greens, with a light vinaigrette drizzled on top. We considered ordering the cheese plate, but from the looks of it, the plate seemed skimpy and overpriced ($14). But everything we actually did order was utterly fresh and delicious, especially the housemade pasta ($12). Tendrils of fettuccini marinated in tomato confit, fresh basil and melted Parmesan-Reggiano wrapped around our forks. As far as housemade pastas go, this was the best I have ever had (even better than Nicola’s). It wasn’t too hearty and was just the right amount.

After the pasta, we devoured seared chunks of cobia (a whitefish with a chewy tuna texture), which was mixed with wilted chard, Napa cabbage, carrot slivers, mushrooms and a mild soy sauce. For $14, it was the best deal on the menu.

After all that food, we somehow saved room for dessert: housemade ice cream blended with Coffee Please beer and Belgian chocolate chips ($5). The ice cream was so fresh we had to wait awhile for the dessert to freeze. It was a little like soft serve, with faint coffee and beer flavors in the background.

With all its local, fresh ingredients, Sprout spoils you. They make you realize just how much better everything tastes when it’s grown on a nearby farm or crafted from local artisans. The restaurant plans to have seasonal dishes, so it’ll be interesting to see how their ingredients evolve with the seasons. But one thing’s clear to me — from now on I will only eat ice cream doused in coffee beer.


Go: 941 Pavilion St., Mount Adams
Phone: 513-721-6977
Internet: sproutmtadams.com
Hours: 11 a.m-11 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday 11 a.m-2 a.m. Friday-Saturday; 11 a.m-3 p.m. Sunday.


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