There is always uncertainty when going out to eat. Sometimes, you’re in for a delicious meal, with top-notch service and an inviting atmosphere. Or, there’s the disappointing alternative: You are presented with a meal that is not in the least bit what you pictured/not cooked properly/temperature not quite right, with sub-par service and cleanliness issues. But, if you know where to look or who to talk to, you might be able to get a heads-up on what you’re in for when dining out.
While we still rely on word-of-mouth to get an idea of what a restaurant is like, there are now websites and apps to help guide us. Sites and apps like Yelp, Urbanspoon, TripAdvisor, and a new discovery of mine, myFab5, are filled with pictures and countless stories of people’s sometimes nightmarish, disappointingly mediocre, or incredibly awesome restaurant experiences.
The trouble is, everyone’s experience is different. And sometimes, people’s reviews are all over the map. This can be seriously misleading for a person who is on the fence about a restaurant. On the positive side, if a restaurant is consistent in their good or bad quality, then the reviews typically reflect that. Still, there is no tried-and-true way to know what a restaurant is truly like until you take the plunge and go yourself.
Curiosity and my love of organic, tasty fare were my main motivating factors in visiting Om Cafe in Ferndale. I had also sampled their food at “Veg Fest” several months back, and I really liked what I tasted.
However, my actual experience at Om Cafe was even better than my sample tasting. Om Cafe has been in business since ’88, and they’ve got the organic, healthy food groove down pat. I was served a plentiful glass of wine right away from Traverse City, where Om Cafe has another location and actually makes their own wine.
The food came out in a timely fashion, and it was hot and properly seasoned. I started with a cup of the Miso soup, which tasted like it had a beef-broth base. It was different than what you get at Japanese restaurants, but it was solid. My dining partner ordered a soup of the day, which was a bean soup. It was good, but we liked the Miso better.
For my main course, I quickly settled on the Cremini burger, which was SO flavorful. The patty was soft, but not too mushy for my taste. I got it with cheddar cheese on top (they offer dairy or vegan cheese), and I loved the garlic aoili on top. It also came with a small side salad, which was a nice complement. My dining partner got one of the specials, which was vegetarian lasagna with a side of veggies cooked in an Asian-style sauce. The lasagna was hearty and filling, and the veggies were plentiful.
I had assumed Om Cafe was strictly vegetarian until I noticed salmon and shrimp on the menu. In my opinion, I don’t think it is unwise to offer some fish here and there so that vegetarians, vegans, Paleo fanatics, and meat/fish lovers can all dine under one roof.
After my experience at Om Cafe, I gained a better appreciation for creative meals that don’t require tons of butter and grease. Plus, it’s food that I can feel good about because I know they value local, organic, and healthy eating.
My advice: Don’t just take my word for it or rely on Yelp. Take the plunge and head to this little green gem. Share your experience with me here on the blog, Facebook, @coneysandkale on Twitter or share a photo with me on Instagram @coneysandkale!
Price range: $10-30
Location: 23136 Woodward Ave., Ferndale, 48220
Hours: Mon., Wed., Thurs. Fri. 12 p.m. – 9 p.m., Sat. 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. (brunch), 4 p.m. – 9 p.m. (dinner). Closed Tues. and Sun. for meditation.
Phone: (248) 548-1941 (Takes reservations)
View the menu here: http://omcafe.com/menu/