First Taste

Sam Fox's Flower Child: A Beautiful Place for Healthy, Expensive Food That Doesn't Taste Very Good

When a new spot opens in town, we can't wait to check it out -- and let you know our initial impressions, share a few photos, and dish about some menu items. First Taste, as the name implies, is not a full-blown review, but instead a peek inside restaurants that have just opened, sampling a few items, and satisfying curiosities (yours and ours).

Restaurant: Flower Child Location: 5013 North 44th Street Open: About a week Eats: Health-focused fare Price: $15+ per person

The northeast corner of 44th Street and Camelback welcomed Sam Fox's 15th restaurant concept to the neighborhood this week. That concept is Flower Child, a restaurant that stresses things like locally sourced ingredients and all-natural meats.

The restaurant itself is everything that you might expect from one of Fox's restaurants -- a beautiful space filled with beautiful people serving beautiful-looking food. The service is attentive and friendly. So if that's all you need from a fast-casual lunch spot, then you won't be disappointed.

See also: Lola Coffee at Sam Fox's The Yard: Phoenix's First Siphon Bar, Kopi Luwak, and Tapas

Unfortunately if you're after a place that delivers on things like taste and affordability, you'll have to keep looking.

The menu at this counter service spot offers a small selection of starters, soups, salads, vegetable and grain plates, wraps, and hot pots. There are also two daily soups, one vegetable-based and one protein-based; seasonal lemonades; and a kids menu. There's alcohol to be had, though it's all organic -- because this is a healthy place, after all.

We started with an order of the avocado hummus (read: guacamole), which featured corn, pepitas, and radish. It was actually one of the better things we tried at Flower Child despite the fact that it tasted like store-bought guacamole with a few extra bits thrown in for texture. The accompanying "pita" was the same stuff they were using in the wraps, a thin, doughy cross between a tortilla and actual pita bread. It did its job as a vehicle for the hummus perfectly fine, although its floppiness required you spread it with a knife rather than dip as you would with traditional hummus.

As for the vegetable and grain plates, they let you create-your-own combination of sides including red chili glazed sweet potato, broccoli and Parmesan, fresh seasonal fruit, and snap pea soba noodles. One selection will cost you $4, two $7, or $10 and that's without any sort of meat.

We tried a plate with sweet corn and quinoa with Greek yogurt and Indian spiced cauliflower with tumeric, date, and almond. We also added a portion of all natural chicken for $5, bringing the total price for the meal to $12 -- a pretty steep price tag considering the portion size.

Both the corn and quinoa and cauliflower were perfectly acceptable, if one-dimensional, dishes. There was none of the tang you'd expect from a dish that contains Greek yogurt, though the combination of sweet corn and cheese is admittedly hard to dislike. And as for the cauliflower, we actually appreciated the curry-like flavor though the dates and almonds were no where to be found.

The chicken, at least, was tender, moist, and not entirely bland.

And being so intrigued by the Hot Pots portion of the menu, we couldn't help but order the Organic Tofu and Mushroom Pho ($12) as well. The dish is definitely not a hot pot or anything close to it, but does resemble something similar to pho -- except more bland. The half-full bowl arrived with a side of basil and bean sprouts, which did little to elevate the watery, but spicy broth. It's actually surprising that the dish manages to be so flavorless despite being full of mushrooms, onions, and tofu.

We washed it down with a glass -- er, mason jar -- of Flower Child's kombucha on tap, which is actually GT's Synergy Enlightened Kombucha. You've probably seen it at Sprout's or Whole Food stores around town. If you've never tried the stuff, know that it smells much worse that it tastes. It tastes like fruit juice mixed with vinegar.

Perhaps Flower Child will gain more depth as time goes by but either way, the restaurant seems to be an quick hit with diners. When we stopped in for the lunch there was barely a seat open in either the large dining room or wrap around patio.

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Lauren Saria
Contact: Lauren Saria