Restaurant Review: Alchemy Juice Bar and Cafe
Some people eat reflexively: if food is appealing, down it goes. Others eat with rules, avoiding substances such as sugar, meat or gluten.
Then there are those for whom food serves a function, it has to be balanced for the right energy or attention levels. It has to provide the right mix of the RDAs in some elaborate equation. For them, eating requires thought — as ingestibles are mentally weighed for potential contributions to holistic health. For them, we have Alchemy.
Really, Alchemy Juice Bar and Cafe is for anyone — the food is certainly good enough. But it has a special appeal for people who want food that does something, the cafe promotes itself as offering nutrient-dense fare that nourishes the mind and body. There’s a dietician on staff, and it’s in a clean and polished new building with a shiny gym upstairs.
The health question isn’t typically a big focus of a food review. It was, however, the focus of the person at the front of the order line. Thoughtful eaters can have lots of questions, and those questions can take time to answer. A lot of time.
But things move quickly when a thoughtless eater (guilty) hits the front of the line. In fact, salads are packed up to-go right at the counter with some juices. There are lots of options. The Brussels Sprout Salad ($4.50) tastes… healthy. It’s got rounds of crunchy brussels sprouts, walnuts and golden raisins. The Quinoa & Kale ($8) is more likable. It’s heavy on the kale with almonds and raisins in the mix too. It has better blended tastes and textures.
You can also order sandwiches at the counter. Built on thick-cut bread with mildly toasty edges, both the Jalapeño Turkey ($8) and the Tuna ($8) are nicely and generously built. In the case of the turkey, the frilly edges of the meat stick out the sides. It’s not particularly spicy, but it’s got a slice of summery-tasting tomato, cheese, plus some (blessedly mild) layers of beet guacamole and sprouts.
In the case of the Tuna, it’s got the same bread, but with several slices of avocado, cheese, more tomato. The tuna foundation is meat-heavy (as opposed to being sticky mayo-heavy) with some unusual crunchies, including what seems to be apple: better than it sounds.
And they have toast. If you’re keeping track, Alchemy can lay claim to having one of the first trendy toast menus in Columbus. There are options such as toast with banana and cocoa nibs, toast with hummus, and the choice for review: PB & J ($3). It boasts peanut butter, local jelly (a nice delicate strawberry flavor) and a lid of granola sprinkles. Those nuggets of granola on top were really the best – not as sweet as common granola, but with a toasty flavor all their own. Plus, the granola had a few little beads of something resembling a childhood favorite: Sugar Smacks (now called Honey Smacks).
It wouldn’t be a juice bar without juice and smoothies. You can watch them make batches behind the counter. The Easy Beet ($4.50) is a beautiful fuscia, with the mouth filling flavor of beets amped up with the sweetness of apple and pear.
As for smoothies, the Snicker Doodle ($6) is nice. It’s got strong contributions from its bananas and almond butter, with a late-hittng, lingering hint of cinnamon. There’s flax in there too, so it’s probably extra healthy. Still, there’s a lightness to it and it’s easy to suck down through the straw and finish in the blink of an eye.
You can find Alchemy at 625 Parsons Avenue — it has a big parking lot right in the back of the building.
For more information, visit www.alchemyjuicecafe.com.
All photos by Walker Evans. Photos are taken at a different time than review, so discrepancies between photos and review may occur.