Nectar (vegetarian review)

/ Updated on July 1, 2015

Despite the plethora of culinary choices available, if you eat out as frequently as moi, it's unusual to be surprised. Yet, Nectar Cafe and Juice Bar does that from the start. The fact that it's tucked in an alley in Lewes (Neils Alley to be precise) is already intriguing, but then you walk through the door and it doesn't look like any other restaurant in town. Behind the double front doors are old fashioned screen doors, the kind with the wood bar across the middle dividing the upper and lower section of screen. I find this immediately inviting. Add to that a rack of colorful handmade aprons, a big chalk board depicting specials, and the homey, French Country Modern decor, and I'm hooked. There are antique doors everywhere, some lead to other rooms and some don't. Some are built into the bar. There's a fireplace and bookshelves full of books in the main room and a galaxy of vintage plates across the back wall.

Owner Sarah McKeown graduated from Drexel with a law degree, but found working as an attorney less than satisfying. With the help and support of her parents (Mom is Leisa Berlin, owner of Edie Bees), Sarah decided to open a cafe/juice bar in Lewes. Good move. The restaurant has been so successful that it is now open for dinner as well. For those of you (like myself) who could eat eggs all day long, you'll be happy to know the breakfast menu is available from open ‘til close. For the longest time I was stuck on the lovely Veggie Omelet with tomato, spinach and feta cheese. It's typically served with sweet potato hash and a slice of delicious whole grain toast. And when you ask for jelly they bring you the cutest little jars … anyway, I digress. I thought, how am I going to write a review if I only eat the omelet? Silly girl. Other vegetarian choices include the Spinach Lavender Omelet, Blueberry Pancakes (also offered gluten free), Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal, Yogurt & Granola Bowl, Buttered Pecan French Toast & Ice Cream (homemade butter pecan ice cream, no less) and something called My Sister's Waffles. After ordering my fave omelet numerous times, I finally gave the waffle a try. Oh. My. God. It is, without a doubt, the best waffle to ever hit my taste buds and served just as the menu describes: “Delightfully crisp on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside!” They make the yeast batter the night before and when they run out the next day, they run out. It is sublime, people, trust me on this. Oh, and it's served with fresh berries and Vermont maple syrup.

The juice menu is exceptional and here are my favorites: the Smarty Pants (spinach, kale, apple, basil, flax, chia and hemp seed); the Morning After (apple, pineapple, spinach, kale, ginger and lemon); and an exceptional Bloody Mary made on the spot with a blend of veggies and spices. No jugs under the counter here! Instead they have very cool refrigerator drawers with cut up fruits and vegetables that go directly into this industrial-strength juicer as each glass is ordered. Deelish!

Of the nine lunch sandwiches offered, four are vegetarian. How cool is that? And such tantalizing choices. Reluctantly leaving breakfast behind, I decided to try the Vedge sandwich with zucchini, squash, Portobello mushrooms, roasted red peppers, sautéed onions, spinach and mozzarella with pesto and balsamic glaze on ciabatta. Divine! I couldn't wait to come back again and try … the Vedge. Yes I did. Again and again. It's a wonderful balance of so many flavors, and when you add in the fresh mozzarella with the pesto, it's simply exquisite. They even toast the ciabatta which is brilliant because it doesn't get soggy from the dressing. You have your choice of sides which are Sweet Potato Hash, Buttermilk Ranch Coleslaw (awesome); Side Salad, Cinnamon-Ginger Applesauce, Sweet Potato Chips, and Kale Chips (my favorite). After many Vedge visits, I tried the Black Bean Burger (made from scratch) topped with Swiss and spicy mayo. It was quite savory but HUGE! Seriously. It was the size of Arkansas. Another sandwich option is the Power House with cucumbers, roasted red peppers, carrots, spinach, tomato, avocado, sprouts, lemon oil, hummus and Havarti cheese on Ezekiel sprouted bread. I have not tried that, but I will. I promise. On my most recent visit I ordered the Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup. The Grilled Cheese is everything you want and more, gooey layers of havarti, gouda and cheddar cheeses. The tomato bisque was good but unremarkable which surprised me. When there's so much brilliant food on the menu, anything less than extraordinary catches me off guard. Though I must say it was very good to dip my GC in though.

Four of the salads are meatless and include a variety of delectables like shaved brussel sprouts, asparagus tips, quinoa, Kalamata olives and toasted almonds. All are hearty and are served with dressings made in-house. There is one vegan/vegetarian item on the dinner menu called “Cauliflower Steak” – a thick slice of roasted cauliflower served over rice pilaf and Romesco, topped with olives, capers and roasted tomatoes. (Romesco is a nut and red pepper-based sauce that originated in Spain.) I've yet to make it to Nectar for dinner; care to join me? I'll be the one with … the waffle.

Nectar is open daily from 7:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. 645-5842. The restaurant also hosts a happy hour daily from 3 to 6 p.m., offering beer, wine and spirits. Each cocktail is made with fresh fruit juice.

Click here to see their website.

Deb Griffin

About the Author

has been a vegetarian for 45 years. "I have been very pleased to see restaurants offering more and more options for meatless dining. We've gone from one vegetarian item on most menus (the faithful grilled cheese) to restaurants whose entire menu is vegetarian. Together we'll explore all that the beaches have to offer." View all articles written by Deb Griffin

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