Bean Sprouts

Bean Sprouts is a new restaurant here in Madison that was designed with children in mind. In this iteration of a Kid’s restaurant, the developers went with a different approach to what places like McDonald’s. They wanted to create a place for kids that had healthy food that would somehow get kids to eat their veggies whether they knew it or not, often pureeing the vegetables and mixing it in the sauces so that it couldn’t be detected. With this in mind, we wanted to take my daughter there for quite some time but haven’t had the chance. That is until this weekend.

Out and wanting to grab a bite to eat we decided to give it a shot. Upon walking in was strange for us, it wasn’t necessarily appealing as the birthday party that was going on turned the place into a mad house. That being said it probably wasn’t nearly as bad as a birthday party in other places. The restaurant was full of bright green and white colors, it was very well done and never felt like too much of anything.

My daughter ordered a kid’s sized Marinara pasta, my roomate tried the turkey and avacado wrap, and I tried the mac and cheese. I took bites of all three and I must say that I didn’t really taste the vegetables in any of them. This was praticularly impressive with the mac and cheese which was good, and very cheesy. My daughter also surprisingly loved the grape-ka-bob side which was nothing more than grapes, though I wasn’t overly thrilled with my roasted sweat potatoes which had an odd taste to them. My roommate didn’t care for her wrap which she felt tasted bland, but I thought was OK.

Though there was a decent wait for our food, the fact that there were toys everywhere for my daughter to play with that kept her busy before and after lunch. There was a bulliten board, all sorts of kitchen and food toys, books, and I also liked the card games and conversation starters that were available, though we didn’t really get a chance to use.

The main issue that I didn’t really care for with the place was the price. We spent $27 on three people there. We didn’t feel like we were eating at a sit-down restaurant, but more a casual restaurant in line with Noodles & Co. It felt far overpriced because of that. And while I thought the food was ok to good, it was not great. Granted our food did also have a smoothy for my daughter (who loves smoothies) and a juice spritzer, there wasn’t really affordable drinks either to keep that cost down (I had water which I rarely do at restaurants). We decided it was a place worth going to from time to time, but not all the time. And when we do go next, we will get maybe smaller portions for the adults to offset the price a little and no special drinks (if drinks are gotten at all).

I do hope the place does better because this city, and country, could use healthier restaurants both for kids and adults. The fact that this restaurant did them both in the same place is spectacular. If they could get the prices a little more reasonable and inject a tad more flavor into their foods, we think this would be a top-notch location for years to come.