Green is more than just part of Bellagreen’s name. The restaurant is dedicated to reducing its ecological footprint at every one of its locations, including the one in the Heights.
Bellagreen claims to do this by water conservation, alternative power, chemical and pollution reduction, sustainable furnishings and building materials and sustainable food practices. The American bistro uses fresh ingredients and makes everything from scratch.
The menu is full of options like soup, salad, pasta, entrees and more, plus it features dishes that are gluten-free and vegetarian.
During a recent visit, I started my meal with a cup of the roasted poblano and corn bisque, which is both gluten-free and vegetarian. The bisque, which is usually a popular seafood soup, featured corn and oaxacan poblano peppers that were fire-roasted. It was simmered with garlic and shallots and then creamed smooth for texture. Red and yellow bell peppers and cilantro were served as garnishes.
The soup was thick and creamy. The poblano gave it a little spice while the bell pepper added a sweetness. The temperature of the soup teetered between warm and room temperature. I would have preferred it warmer.
For my main entrée I went with Bellagreen’s signature dish, the brick chicken. It’s boneless chicken marinated overnight with herbs, garlic and olive oil, then sautéed in a skillet. The garnish included lemon slices and a sprig of rosemary.
Chipotle mashed sweet potatoes and roasted vegetables came on the side. The seasonal vegetables were cauliflower, broccoli and carrots.
Sautéing the chicken in the skillet gave it a nice crust on the edges of the chicken. The meat was tender and the herbs had seeped into the chicken. The skin tended to slide off on the middle pieces of the chicken when I cut into it, but even without the skin, it was savory.
The chipotle in the mashed sweet potatoes made it interesting. It put a little bit of spice to contrast the sweet potato. The roasted vegetable was good, crunchy and seasoned. My favorite was the carrots. They tended to have a better balance of soft and crunchy.
The latter side caused me to crave the carrot cake for dessert, which is the only gluten-free dessert on the menu. When I first saw the plate that came to my table with a slice of cake on it, my initial reaction was: “That seems like they’re over-doing it.”
The cake was first plated with lines of strawberry and peach sauce, then the cake was placed on top. A piece of dark chocolate was placed over the cake and on the side was a strawberry and small scoop of ice cream.
After a few bites I started thinking maybe more isn’t so bad in this case. The sauce added interesting flavoring, and the chocolate might not have been eaten with the cake, but it was still good to have on the side. The vanilla ice cream was thick and reminded me of Haagen-Dazs ice cream.
The carrot cake itself was a solid spice cake. The frosting wasn’t overly sweet and balanced well with the cake. While the cake was a little dry, the frosting and sauces made up for it.
Address: 748 E. 11th St.
Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday-Sunday
Healthy options: Yes
Star of the show: Brick chicken