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Top 5 spots for Brussels sprouts in Gainesville
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Brussels sprouts at Avocados are fried to a golden crisp and tossed in balsamic vinegar. - photo by Rachel Estes

Few things were more upsetting to me as a youngster crazed on Saturday morning cartoons than Brussels sprouts. I was made to worry about pianos falling from the sky, forgetting to wear my pants to school and my mom cooking the most evil and pungent vegetable for dinner. 

But as I’ve matured in age, my palate and my fears have grown, too. Now at the venerable age of 23, I must worry about whether my college degree was worth the money, if I should invest already in a nose hair trimmer and how I can impress my friends at dinner parties with a Brussels sprouts recipe of my own.

Brussels sprouts are no longer the scary punchline vegetable of my youth, and several establishments in Gainesville will show you just how varied and tasty this vegetable can be. 

Avocados

These are one of two fried Brussels sprouts in our survey — a way of preparing sprouts I had never heard of until hopping between fine dining joints. Avocados’ sprouts are cooked to the right degree of golden brown, giving their buds a rich, full-bodied flavor and some crispiness. 

A little balsamic vinegar goes a long way, so be sure to drag your sprouts around the bottom of your plate to soak up as much flavor as they’re worth. 

At $6, these are a great option if you’re looking to try some fried sprouts in the city, and they might be a little more cost-efficient than some of the other options on this list. However, if you’re coming in as a sprout skeptic, marred by childhood trepidations, these may not turn you all the way around. These still taste like a green vegetable while some other innovators on this list transcend. 


Rating: 7/10

Price: $6

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Brussels sprouts at Avocados are fried to a golden crisp and tossed in balsamic vinegar. - photo by Rachel Estes
Scott’s Downtown

When you get your small platter of sprouts at Scott’s Downtown Restaurant, you may be a little surprised to not see familiar spherical buds staring back at you. Scott’s Brussels sprouts are served shredded, which is not a bad way to try cooking them at home. 

I often have a tough time mustering the patience to cook them long and thoughtfully enough to achieve a softer texture, even with a cast-iron skillet. Shredding your sprouts before adding them to some olive oil — and, later in the process, a splash of balsamic vinegar for good measure — will likely shorten your cooking time and get you to a consistent finished product. 

Scott’s also marries its sprouts with onions and bacon, offering a different flavor profile from some others on this list. For kids, this preparation might be a little less attractive in its presentation, but pitching them on the bacon bits hidden inside might just work toward converting a picky eater. 


Rating: 7/10

Price: $7.50

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Scott's Downtown Restaurant serves Brussels sprouts shredded with bits of bacon and onion. - photo by Rachel Estes
Yellowfin

Yellowfin asks, “What if your veggies tasted like dessert?” Combining brown sugar, crushed red pepper, butter and bacon, Yellowfin offers a delightful candied Brussels sprout side dish that tastes unlike any other in the city. 

Be forewarned: these sprouts are hot and spicy, resting patiently in their own cooking juices (and some bacon grease, the ill-effects of which I’m convinced are canceled out by the good vitamins in the sprouts themselves). 

You may have to ask specifically for the candied version of Yellowfin’s sprouts, but this is one of the best value propositions we could find.


Rating: 8/10

Price: $3

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Yellowfin's signature candied Brussels sprouts combine brown sugar, crushed red pepper, butter and bacon. - photo by Rachel Estes
Recess Southern Gastro-Pub

These enviously golden buds are deceptively simple and photogenic; I devoured them as if they were french fries.

Recess blanches and sautes their sprouts with butter, salt, pepper and oil for a smooth texture and flavorful finish. They look and feel like something you could make at home, and yet getting sprouts this full of flavor without any fancy spices or sweeter additives is incredibly elusive, at least in my kitchen. 

I took home my leftovers (which were just as satisfying the next day) in hopes that my own refrigerated sprouts would be inspired to come out that beautiful and scrumptious. 

But alas, I’ll just have to travel to Recess for this snack. 


Rating: 9/10

Price: $3

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Recess Southern Gastro-Pub takes a buttery, blanched and sautéed approach to Brussels sprouts. - photo by Rachel Estes
Harvest Kitchen

I stopped working when a heaping plate of Brussels sprouts landed on the table before me. My heart rate slowed, my deadlines evaporated, my phone went silent and my undivided attention was given to the sprouts — which, flash-fried to perfection and topped with fresh parmesan cheese, stared back at me like the faces of kind old friends in a shallow pool of balsamic vinegar. 

You’d hardly believe healthy antioxidants are tucked inside these crispy, melt-in-your-mouth sprouts. 

If you’re feeling adventurous, you might ask for the parmesan cream sauce, too. No one’s judging if you double dip.

Harvest’s sprouts come in the heftiest portion size and sport the largest price tag, but if you want the very best fried Brussels sprouts in Gainesville (in my opinion), they’re worth it, and there’s more than enough to share. 


Rating: 10/10

Price: $10

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Harvest Kitchen's Brussels sprouts are flash-fried, coated in balsamic vinegar and topped with shaved parmesan. - photo by Rachel Estes
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