Wondering how a vessel full of healthy foods came to be called a “Buddha bowl,” I do what comes naturally in our tech-dominated age: turn to Google. It turns out something so zen-sounding doesn’t just refer to plant-based meals-in-a-bowl but also to superfoods (acai fruit), nuts and grains all nestled in one dish. At last, the balance to our fried-cheese-curd-and-greasy-burger benders!
There’s a lot to like about this trend – from affordability to the sucker punch of delectable-ness. The new Bowls restaurant sews those qualities into a cheerful Walker’s Point space with an open kitchen and both a “living” wall of herb plants and a wall holding shelves of handmade (for sale) bowls.
Co-owner Nell Benton’s menu hits sweet and savory bases. Most dishes start as vegetarian or vegan. You can add chicken, fish, avocado, egg or steak, although from my experience they’re satisfying without adds. The Green Goddess (shown above) hits all the textural and flavor bases. For the carnivore, there is steak and rice with kimchi and bibimbap sauce. Non-savory choices include a chocolate-peanut-butter-smoothie bowl topped with coconut, raspberries, almonds and granola. If that doesn’t qualify as dessert to you, Purple Door Ice Cream is right next door, making this a very delicious block. (207 W. Freshwater Way, 414-800-5667. Mon-Sat B L D. Prices $7-$12)
THE GREEN GODDESS
Crunchy fried sweetness balances the soft, chewy, creamy textures.
Not custardy with a runny yolk, but warm, solid with a delicate creaminess. “Stir” the egg into the other ingredients for an extra wow.
Smooth and simple, a thick, velvety blend of nuts and water. It richens the dish beautifully sans dairy.
A cereal grain that has a mild, nutty flavor and serves as a hearty bowl base. Best when it’s cooked al dente, as it is here.
TO HAVE AND TO HOLD
The restaurant sells lovely glazed, wheel-thrown bowls ($18-$22) by local ceramist Cathy Elsinger of Studio Cielo. The vessels are food- and dishwasher-safe.