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Sprig and Vine

April 26, 2010

By Pat Tanner

The sign on this handsome newcomer to the New Hope, PA restaurant scene says “Pure Vegetarian.” That’s a bit of misdirection, albeit a forgivable one, because Sprig & Vine’s owner/chef, Ross Olchvary, dishes up 100% vegan fare, soup to nuts. Olchvary is a veteran of Philadelphia’s esteemed vegan restaurant, Horizons, and his fare is so savory, interesting, and stylishly presented that even an avowed omnivore such as me is happy to dine there anytime. Nor will I hesitate to bring along my most vegetarian-averse friends.

Truly, there is not one dish on the lunch and dinner menus that doesn’t pique my interest or make me admire Olchvary’s nerve. Case in point: serving a Reuben, that beloved, uber-carnivorous deli classic, at a vegan spot. He gets all the flavors and textures right, with caraway-crusted tempeh, excellent crunchy pickles, sauerkraut, and Thousand Island dressing on terrific grilled pumpernickel. I vacillated between ordering that and the spicy Vietnamese banh mi, which features cauliflower as the major player and carrot, cilantro, mint, jalapeno, and lemongrass aioli in supporting roles.

I finally settled on the oyster mushroom po’ boy, a clever pun that also works remarkably well. Even the baguette is noteworthy. On my visit the soup of the day was a soul- and appetite-satisfying broth of wild mushrooms and tofu that exceeded expectations. Prices are kept under control, with the big bowl of soup a mere $5 and the sandwiches – all with top-flight ingredients – ranging from $8 to $10. At dinner, the entrees do not exceed $18, and for that you get, for example, a beautifully composed plate of Moroccan grilled tofu with carrot top pesto broth, chickpea cake, shaved artichoke salad, and braised greens.

Desserts are smart and don’t disappoint either, despite the absence of eggs, butter, and dairy. And the contemporary space pleases with its dark earth tones and earthy materials. My only quibble is a poor ventilation system that keeps the smells of the open kitchen circulating through the room.

Sprig & Vine is at 450 Union Square Drive, New Hope, PA. (In the same center and not far from Triumph Brewing.)

One Comment leave one →
  1. April 26, 2010 10:32 am

    Looks fantastic – I am originally from PA so this is nice to see and would love to check it out this Spring!

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