Cacao Tree Cafe
204 West 4th Street
Royal Oak, MI 48067
Eating at Cacao Tree Café this afternoon, I felt a bit like my former city-dwelling single self. Before starting work this afternoon, I wanted to enjoy a quick lunch out, and since I had heard many positive comments about Cacao Tree, I decided to give it a try. My husband is not easily convinced to try raw/vegan restaurants so I knew it was a place I would try alone or with a friend and, today, I was glad for the few minutes of quiet time. I sat at the bar and since it was a sunny early-winter day, the sidewalk outside the restaurant was busy as was the restaurant with customers eating-in or taking to-go orders constantly passing through the doors. Many of the customers seemed to be regulars, which made it feel both bustling and homey at the same time. That combined with the train rushing by, I felt transported to city-life, if only for a few moments.
The menu at Cacao Tree Café is very interesting and highlights fresh, organic ingredients. This restaurant does not rely on any fake-meat products but rather uses wonderful vegan ingredients such as nuts, mushrooms and beans to give a hearty-quality to their dishes. I definitely appreciate this quality in a restaurant. Though I often order vegetarian dishes when eating out, I do not frequently eat at vegan restaurants so the varied selection of wonderful dishes and the fresh smell from the open kitchen was heavenly.
I selected the soup and salad plate for lunch. For my soup, I choose the lentil, vegetable soup. After this experience, I definitely want to come back to try a variety of the different daily soups. The soup was a hearty and rich (but not overly salty broth) with lentils, carrots, celery and onions. The salad was simply greens with broccoli, avocado, sprouts (which I skipped due to being pregnant), tomatoes and carrots. I chose the maple tahini dressing which was a perfect example of how amazing vegan food can really be. This dressing was sweet, savory, rich and creamy and felt like a decadent change from my typical home dressing of olive oil and vinegar. Alongside my lunch, I enjoyed the rejuvenate juice which was a freshly-made juice comprised of: cucumber, lemon, apple, celery and greens. Generally, I prefer to eat versus drink my vegetables, but this drink made me want to run out and buy a juicer. It was so fresh and delicious; I was disappointed when my small, and quite expensive drink was finished.
To end my meal, I chose a small piece of chocolate out of the pre-made refrigerated case. This chocolate was made of cacao and filled with homemade caramel and topped with almonds. I thought it was good, not great, but honestly, I am a bit obsessed with pure dark chocolate and most truffles or “dressed up” chocolate typically falls short.
Overall, the meal was fantastic. Cacao Tree Café is expensive, but definitely worth it if fresh, high-quality food is a priority to you. I am excited to return and try many of the other offerings. While I do not think this would initially appeal to everyone, I would urge any person (meat-loving or otherwise) to give Cacao Tree Cafe a try. This restaurant is a wonderful example of how incredible simple fresh vegetables can taste if well prepared.