The Well ATX: Health-haloed Food Comes to Life
The Austin food scene used to be flooded with cheesy taco joints, smoky barbecue spots, and hole-in-the-wall bars that people only ever heard of through word of mouth. These are all still alive and well. But, in recent years, ATX has been following in the footsteps of cities like Los Angeles and New York in adopting the ‘health food’ and ‘wellness’ trends. With some amazing results.
The Well ATX is the newest in this installment, located on Second Street in Downtown Austin. Their website describes their mission as “blend[ing] top-tier nutrition, local and sustainable farming, and authentic flavors for a breakthrough culinary experience.”
My dining experience at the new spot was a pleasure the entire way through. We enjoyed refreshing drinks, flavor-packed dishes and welcoming, attentive service. From the second we sat down, the waitress was quick to answer our many questions and very accommodating with dietary restrictions.
For two people, we ordered four dishes. While the portions were large and we couldn’t finish all of the food, it definitely payed off to taste the variety of flavors. Being a student in college, the experience of enjoying fresh, raw vegetables is few and far between, so the crudite plate was a refreshing start to the meal. Drizzled with olive oil and sea salt with a side of a delicious mushroom dip, the crunchy vegetables really hit the spot, and will definitely be ordered again upon my return.
The crudite isn’t the only satisfying vegetable-based dish on the menu. One would think there isn’t much that could stand out about a tomato salad, but let me tell you, the tomato salad at The Well is unlike anything I’ve ever tasted. Despite leaving off the chickpea croutons due to an allergy, the salad was lacking in nothing. Fresh basil and a creamy chive-caesar dressing created a flavor profile I can only compare to a homemade Neapolitan pizza. Unexpected in its authentic taste, I enjoyed the strong basil notes and would highly recommend this dish to all tomato-lovers.
For the two main dishes, my friend and I ordered the Salmon Tartare and the Hemp Heart and Chickpea Falafel. The mouth-watering salmon tartare had nice touches from the pineapple and cilantro to balance out the richness of the fish. I suggest sharing with the table as an appetizer, instead of a main course, due to the large potion size. All in all, the dish wasn’t too heavy, but filling all the while.
Though I didn’t personally taste the falafel, my friend, who is picky to say the least, had nothing but good things to say. With each bite moist and packed with flavor, she said it still felt like a light meal. Compared to the typical fast-food falafel she orders on a weekly basis, there was no question this is a treat.
The delicious drinks we ordered rounded out the already stellar meal. Being a ‘health’ restaurant, The Well doesn’t serve typical fountain sodas. Instead, they offer beautifully crafted cocktails that can be ordered with or without alcohol, as well as an assortment of gourmet, probiotic sodas. I ordered a virgin “The Cure” cocktail. Though daunting in color with the activated charcoal giving it a black hue, I really enjoyed it. The lemon and cucumber taste come through with sweetness attributed to the maple. This being said, I didn’t taste much heat from the cayenne. I would’ve preferred a little bit more of a kick.
My friend ordered the raspberry probiotic soda, which arrived garnished with two adorable little roses. She loved it, and described the taste as “a bubblier Shirley Temple, with less artificial flavor.”
Each and every dish and drink we ordered at The Well was thoroughly enjoyed. The laid back atmosphere made for a nice weeknight dinner. As a foodie who’s tried many Austin establishments, The Well is now high up there on my list of the best, and I can’t wait to go back.