Normally when a Michigan student ventures down to Main Street, they are off to a nice dinner with their parents at either Chop House, Gratzi, Melange, or any of the other fabulous choices that Ann Arbor has to offer. But hidden on the corner of South Main and West Huron lies Back2Roots Bistro, a healthy, reasonably-priced alternative to the overcrowded, expensive restaurants that are down the street.
Back2Roots Bistro has a large menu consisting of soups, salads, wraps, burgers, bowls, and juices. The menu offers both lunch and dinner options. All ingredients are locally sourced, GMO free, and do not include white sugars or breads. The menu also denotes which items contain peanuts, gluten, soy, tree nuts, and coconut, which happened to be very helpful as my friend who accompanied me has a peanut allergy.
When we arrived for our lunch we were able to sit immediately. This was a pleasant surprise because too often we find ourselves waiting in a huge line at Angelo’s, Zingerman’s, or any other Ann Arbor classic. While we were waiting for our food (which came very quickly), we noticed that there was artwork hanging with prices underneath. The decor of this restaurant had a unique feel compared to most places students usually find themselves at. The crowd was a bit older than we are used to, but we did not feel out of place since it is a very casual restaurant.
Now, onto the most important part: the food. I decided to try the Zen Bowl and my friend, the Jackfruit Caribbean Jerk Wrap, which came with a choice of soup, vegetables, or salad. Since it was a cold, snowy day that Ann Arbor is known for, my friend decided on the soup of the day, which was black bean. She really enjoyed her soup, as it was flavorful, thick, and topped with avocado. #winning
I was a fan of my Zen Bowl, which consisted of soba noodles, crispy tofu, a spicy Thai peanut sauce, and assorted vegetables. This dish had a lot of flavor from the spicy sauce, and the vegetables added a nice crunch to the thin noodles. The crispy tofu was awesome, and I wouldn’t call myself tofu’s biggest fan. The Zen bowl is great if you’re craving take-out noodles but don’t want the stomachache and guilt that accompanies most take-out noodle options.
My friend was intrigued by the Jackfruit Caribbean Jerk Wrap, as neither of us had heard of jackfruit before. When we asked the waitress she described it as the texture of mango but a bit more bitter. Being the adventurous eater that my friend is, she decided to go for it. The wrap consisted of jackfruit, sautéed pineapple, and jicama avocado slaw covered in caribbean jerk marinade and a coconut poppy seed dressing. She ended up really enjoying the jackfruit, but wished there was more avocado slaw (no surprise there).
As I tend to be an unhealthy food enthusiast, I cannot say I will be adding this restaurant to my usual circuit. But, in a month dominated by wings, pączki, and all things chocolate that come with the Super Bowl, Mardi Gras, and Valentine’s Day, this meal was more than welcomed by my not-quite Spring Break ready body. So if you’re looking for a healthy meal out, or are a vegetarian looking for a new place to try, I recommend you check out Back2Roots Bistro for lunch or dinner.