POSTED ON FEBRUARY 18, 2009:
Kind to the Palate, Kind to the Body
No-nonsense eatery dedicated to quality, convenience and wellness
"What we've done is feature fast-casual prices and fast-casual service, but wrapped it in an elegant, upscale environment. Our diners are getting more ambience and atmosphere and gourmet meals..."
"We created D'Novo, first and foremost, to give people a healthy alternative that was incredibly delicious. Gourmet and lean are not usually associated, but we brought them together to take the guesswork out of eating healthy, not to take out the taste," said Anna Hollinger, founder and president of D'Novo Lean Gourmet.
'D'Novo' means 'new beginning' in Latin, for it embodied the "perfect description of what we have to offer -- a new way to eat healthy."
Upon entering, we noticed that the décor was rather stark -- bright, white walls and high ceilings defined the atmosphere. But we soon acclimated to the space. The dining room was quiet on this Monday evening, which was much appreciated. The tables were arranged too closely for our preference, so the low volume was ideal.
We were greeted immediately; and we must have donned a 'What do we do?' expression because we were asked if we had been here before. We were told to order from the counter and that the food is brought to the table. Odd, we thought, for the décor suggested otherwise.
Apparently, others shared my sentiments. According to General Manager Tyler Mirt, "The high-end décor of the restaurant surprises people. As such, they sometimes expect sit-down waitservice at the table."
"What we've done is feature fast-casual prices and fast-casual service, but wrapped it in an elegant, upscale environment. Our diners are getting more ambience and atmosphere and gourmet meals... Our food is unexpected and beautiful. We wanted the dining experience to be the same," he added.
The menu is laden with fascinating items, with every meal under 500 calories. One such item is the Open Faced Grilled Bison Burger with Vine Ripe Tomatoes, Caramelized Red Onion and Gorgonzola on Whole Wheat Foccacia for $10.95. Another is the Ancho Relleno with Seasoned Chicken and Cheddar Cheese with Black Beans, Carrot Sauce, Cumin Sour Cream and Salsa Fresca for $11.95.
As an appetizer, we ordered Thai Marinated Beef Sate with Peanut Sauce and Asian Slaw ($6.95) and the Crisp Greens with Apples, Toasted Walnuts and Goat Cheese salad with Poppy Seed Vinaigrette ($3.95). The beef was extraordinarily tender; its bold marinade was only enhanced by the peanut sauce. The slaw was crisp and delicately spiced. It was an attractive dish; and the goat cheese provided a fine jolt to the overall flavor.
For the main dish, I ordered Seared Salmon ($14.95) and my companion went with the Grilled London Broil ($13.95). Both were fabulous.
My salmon was served with Pecan Wild rice, Grilled Asparagus and Preserved Lemon Glaze. D'Novo's signature lemon-glaze added a refreshing accent to the fish. The slight crispiness around the edge of the salmon was particularly good. The wild rice tasted wholesome; and the asparagus were perfectly grilled and very fresh.
The London Broil consists of house-cut beef marinated in herbs, cooked with vegetables then grilled to order (in this case, rare to medium rare). Each bite was flavorful and delightfully tender. This came with sweet, spiced mashed potatoes, like nothing we had ever tasted. The Wild Mushroom Demi-Glace drizzled atop the meat was rich and savory. The dish came with a side of grilled asparagus and red and yellow zucchini. Very good.
For dessert, we had the Red Wine Poached Pear ($4.95). The fruit is bathed in gingered labne (house made Greek style yogurt) and adorned with a walnut tuile (French for "tile," it is a thin, crispy cookie often made with crushed almonds and resembling a curved roof tile). This dessert was perfect -- light, tasty and different.
We sipped on Green Tea ($1.95) and Cappuccino ($3.50), which unfortunately were unimpressive.
Drew Flatt, Vice President and Executive Chef of D'Novo, created all of the dishes. The menu includes American favorites, dishes with Asian flair or with Latin influences. Current customer favorites are the Rock Shrimp Flatbread, American Sirloin Burger, Coconut Marinated Chicken Salad, the London Broil and the Seared Salmon.
The sauces here are made in-house, from the salad dressings to the marinades; but because of the season, only some of the ingredients are organic.
D'Novo also offers the Lean Gourmet Meal Delivery Plan, which has been very successful and is popular throughout the year. The service, which was started before the restaurant, features the same delicious, nutritious food from Chef Flatt. Clients may also consult with D'Novo's on-staff nutritionist about special dietary needs.
With separate menus, lunch is served from 11am-4:30pm and dinner from 4:30-9pm. To-go orders are also available. For more information, visit dnovoleangourmet.com.
D'Novo Lean Gourmet
61st & Yale, KingsPointe Village
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