A Mix of Sweet and Sour at Acre, Clintonville's Healthy Fast-Food Joint

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly
Mole bowl

Finding food that's quick, convenient and healthy is much harder than it should be. So when Acre opened last November, I was intrigued by the restaurant's farm-to-table-meets-fast-food approach. But after my first visit, I left disappointed by slow service.

This time, I walked in the door with high hopes-I'd heard Acre worked out some kinks in the months after opening. Sure enough, the kitchen was running smoothly, and I received my meal about 15 minutes after ordering. I started with the Shrub Fruit Soda ($3), a drink that showcases rotating, seasonal flavors paired with mild vinegar and soda water. The fruit (pineapple on my visit) and sour tang of vinegar made for a complex yet refreshing libation.

My Thai bowl ($8.75) and my husband's Mole wrap ($8.75) were both generously portioned and piled high with veggies, which we liked, but they didn't boast the same delightful complexity as the soda. The peanut sauce and the mole could have benefitted from more aggressive spicing. And while the broccoli in my Thai bowl was cooked just right (not crunchy, but with some bite left to it), the carrots and curried cauliflower bordered on overcooked.

I finished with a Sweet Corn Cookie ($2.50) to go, and ended up sharing very little of it with my husband. Crunchy on the edges and chewy in the middle, the cookie tastes like an extra-sweet ear of corn and a bowl of perfectly salted popcorn rolled into one (totally addictive, in other words).

Complaints aside, Acre is clearly a neighborhood favorite; we visited on a nondescript weeknight, and I never saw the line at the counter dwindle. And while I might not order another Thai bowl anytime soon, a Shrub Fruit Soda paired with a craving-inducing Corn Cookie is my new favorite pick-me-up for hot summer days.