At Good Eats Cafe, locally grown produce is used whenever possible; salt, only sparingly. And don't even think about butter, for this is an eatery with a mission: to feed people healthfully and, at the same time, well.
The cafe inhabits the same strip mall as Big Al's Family Fitness, with which it shares ownership. Enter and you won't know where to look first: A takeout counter. An open kitchen. A huge refrigerator case filled with dietician-planned meals ready for home delivery. A spacious, attractive dining room. And a row of stools near an eating counter where iPads enable you (or your kids) to check the Internet and play a few games.
Once seated at a table, you'd do well to order up a flatbread; both the goat cheese/arugula and grilled vegetable versions are bright and savory. A bowl of butternut squash mac and cheese featuring low-fat cheddar and whole wheat penne is appealing, if a bit soupy. A standout is the vibrant grilled shrimp salad with turkey bacon and red wine vinaigrette. Steer clear of anything with low-fat Caesar dressing, which is commercially made and tastes dietetic. The grilled seasonal vegetable salad, though, is dressed with nothing more than olive oil and lemon.
At lunch, a juicy, herbal chicken burger topped with corn relish succeeds, as does a satisfying chicken-avocado salad wrap made with cubes of grilled chicken. But those same grilled chicken pieces should not be tucked into an otherwise fine turkey meatball wrap. And they have no place in the cleverly turned-out "zoodles" -- spiraled zucchini noodles with tomatoes and broccoli. Pasta funghi, a flavor-intense composition featuring wild mushroom in a light vegetable stock, is supposed to feature whole wheat fettuccine but, on the evening it's ordered, is made with penne.
Chef Chris Nestro's blackened wild salmon is moist and well spiced, served with spinach and irresistible roasted potatoes. And mashed sweet potatoes crown an unconventional shepherd's pie made with super-lean ground beef.
It's nice to know that a new dessert menu featuring "guilt-free" fruit tarts, cheesecake and shakes was just launched. Clearly, there's no shortage of ambition at this promising newcomer. In fact, given just the right tweaking, it might conceivably become the Very Good Eats Cafe.