Chow Bella

Pomegranate Café Now Open for Dinner

Located in Ahwatukee, Pomegranate Café is owned by mother-daughter chef duo Marlene and Cassie Tolman, who are living out their dream of "utilizing fresh organic ingredients to prepare food and drinks that tempt the palate and create wellbeing." Their menu includes ever-changing vegetarian and vegan options for breakfast, lunch, and now dinner; plus, they have a wide array of vegan baked goods for dessert. The space is bright and inviting, and it's easy to picture spending the day there with a cup of coffee and a laptop.

We stopped by at 7:30 pm, a half hour before the café's new closing time, and we were surprised to see several other diners - most of whom did not look like the stereotypical veggie heads. 

Does all of the food justify the price? Find out after the jump...

After ordering the risotto special, a plate of mac n' cheese, a side of tempeh bacun, and a smoothie, it was a bit surprising that the bill was $34, but the ingredients are fresh, organic, and make you feel like a million bucks.

The RAW Island Green smoothie, made with kale, coconut water, pineapple, mango, strawberry, banana, and orange, is like Naked Juice on crack. For $8, it's a good thing that this is some of the best juice on the planet, and despite the price, it's a bad thing that their smoothies aren't conveniently available downtown. You can skip the daily vitamin pills and have a glass of RAW Island Green smoothie every day instead.

For an even bigger shot of nutrients and flavor, the RAW Super Green Kale Salad will not disappoint. The Mushroom Risotto came with this salad as a side, and a bigger serving would definitely make a great meal on its own. The kale is rubbed with lemon-garlic olive oil and is served with field greens (ours had clover), spiral beets, carrots, almonds, and other fresh ingredients that they have on hand. Then it's finished with a light, anchovy-free Caesar dressing. This salad's 100% good, and there's not a bad thing to be said about it.

The Mushroom Risotto with Truffle Oil is made up of half fresh Portobello mushrooms and half brown rice. The texture isn't quite as creamy as a traditional risotto due to the use of brown rice, but it is still satisfying and fits the definition of risotto. It's hard to miss the texture when distracted by all of the mushrooms anyway. The flavor is quite light and simple, and it is far from the kind of butter and cream laden risotto that's as guilt-inducing as it is tasty.

The Mac n' Cheese is a real surprise. The cheddar cheese sauce is actually reminiscent of Velveeta or Hamburger Helper, but the result is everything that those brands are try and fail miserably to create. The sauce is pretty spicy, and it could be better balanced not to overpower the cheese flavor. The bowl is rounded out with some onions and fresh peppers.

The Tempeh Bacun pairs pretty well with the Mac n' Cheese and has a good savory flavor, but the texture isn't at all like real bacon. Vegetarians will likely appreciate this side, especially for breakfast, but if you have no problem eating meat, stick with the real stuff.

The all-vegetarian Pomegranate Café now has extended hours from 8 am to 8 pm Tuesday through Saturday. They are open Sundays from 8 am to 4:30 pm and are closed on Monday. If you need a health boost or are craving a fresh, delicious meal, just remind yourself that getting your vitamins and nutrients delivered in a tasty way is worth any price.

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Dominique Chatterjee