For hardcore vegetarians, the high point of 2009 has to be the arrival of Bliss Raw Cafe and Elixir Bar, Dallas’ raw-food restaurant. Raw foodism is the most extreme subset of vegetarianism, in which food is never subjected to high heat. Proponents say it’s healthier and gives you more energy. Of course, a salad is raw food. But what they do at Bliss is more complicated—transforming nuts, bananas, avocado, and the like into “pizza,” “sushi,” or “cream pie.”

The handiwork is nifty, and the food can be satisfying. A pizza “crust” was made from grains, then topped with pesto, red onion, red bell pepper, and sprouts—as full of color and texture as any pizza—and just as filling. Some of the best dishes didn’t try to mock others. One terrific salad wisely used kale, that rough-and-tough green, chopped into ribbons and tossed in a tasty sesame dressing that seemed to tenderize it. Desserts were excellent, from a creamy cheesecake made with puréed nuts to a citrusy Key lime tart.

If you judge by the young, beatific staff, this stuff is working; the place has a kind of hippie-collective vibe. What it does not have is alcohol or a parking lot or someone to answer the phone. They encourage you to take DART to Park Lane (or park in the DART lot) and walk the block over. That’s the kind of place Bliss is.

Get contact information for Bliss.