Thanks to the influence of my vegetarian roommate, I have been well exposed to some of the terrible vegetarian restaurant options around Atlanta. But Green Sprout was a pleasant surprise, with a completely vegetarian menu ranging from soy protein seafood to beef and chicken to dairy-free bubble tea.
For a carnivorous Chinese food lover, the meat-lacking menu made me feel all too vulnerable. I knew all the names of the dishes, but I had only ever been acquainted with them when they contained real meat. I ordered a dish resembling what I would choose at any other Chinese restaurant: vegetable rolls and sesame soy chicken with white rice. The rice, unfortunately, had to be ordered separately since the meals are large enough to fill you up without the extra grain.
The first course was on our table within minutes. The two vegetable rolls came with an opaque white sauce, which emitted a delicate aroma similar to the typical orange gelatinous duck sauce that’s often found at Chinese restaurants. As I bit into one of the rolls, I was met with a satisfying crunch. While the rolls were small, the flavor of the vegetables came through. They were, however, a bit stingy on the filling. Next, I tried a roll with the white sauce, and while the sweet and tangy flavor livened up the dish, I was not yet impressed.
Before I finished my second roll, the main dishes arrived. The large portions were served on family style plates. The plate was heaped with sesame soy chicken, sporting some broccoli garnish. I stuck my fork into the soy and was met with a crunch. The protein had a beautiful batter under the sticky brown sesame sauce. When I took a bite, I was pleasantly surprised: the sweet sesame played well with the savory soy and batter, creating the illusion I was eating real chicken. The fried outside of the soy chicken prevented the protein from becoming overly saturated. The broccoli, however, was soggy. I powered my way through most of the dish, the portion being too large to finish in one sitting.
For dessert, there was only one option, fried bananas. The bananas arrived piping hot and covered in granulated sugar. Simple yet delicious, they were the perfect end to the vegetarian meal.
The quality of the meal was hardly reflected in the exterior appearance of the restaurant, which is located in an old strip mall located on Piedmont Avenue, nestled between Top Spice and a pharmacy. From the outside, it appeared closed — black plastic contact paper covered the windows. The curb appeal was lacking, but the simple ambiance inside was pleasant. The restaurant was empty besides one other customer, but it should not have been. The food was good and the wait staff friendly.
Overall, Green Sprout has an extremely pleasant atmosphere. The food was enjoyable, and only made unexpectedly better by the vegetarian menu. The pricing is fair for the quality and amount of food you receive, and typically ranges from $10 to $15 a plate. With a variety of options for vegetarians that satisfy carnivores and herbivores alike, efficient and accommodating staff and fair prices, Green Sprout should be your next stop on your tour of Atlanta restaurants