January 18, 2013 by Jared.Ely
One of the absolute worst things one can do to oneself is to go on a diet. Now I fully understand that being healthy is important, but to sacrifice food for that goal is abhorrent. There is a small point of merit in that by starting a diet you may expose yourself to new foods or perhaps find different healthy choices. But the majority of the time, diets are about measly portions and exceptionally boring, repetitive food choices.
That being said, I have nothing against salad. Prepared properly, a salad can be a dish full of numerous and divergent tastes that coalesce into a single, more perfect whole. Crisp lettuce, tomatoes oozing juice, and sharp onions alongside tender chicken — how could one even think to despise such a meal? This is why I stepped away from my usual fare and decided to visit Sweetgreen.
Located on the 3900 block of Walnut Street, Sweetgreen is a bit different from its surrounding restaurants. With Bobby’s Burger Palace situated directly next door, Sweetgreen provides a nice change of atmosphere by showcasing its more health-conscious menu. The restaurant is made to look more natural accordingly, with generous wood paneling and subtle greens throughout the interior. The menu is fairly large, with nine premade salads or wraps as well as a do-it-yourself option. What’s nice about offering the do-it-yourself salad is that the salad is prepared in front of you, so you can see and choose the ingredients. After looking over the menu, I went with what looked like the most filling salad, the Earth bowl, and a small cup of Sweetgreen’s own frozen yogurt.
I have to admit: The Earth bowl is an extremely filling salad. For $9 I received what easily could have been two meals for those with lighter appetites, so don’t expect them to skimp out on the quantity just because it promotes healthy eating.
It wasn’t the size, however, but the grain base that made this salad filling. Instead of primarily consisting of arugula, the salad contained many warm grains as its base. The grains were delicious, mind you, and each soft oat contained a light, enjoyable, starchy flavor, making the salad very dense. Also, the grains overpowered the arugula, unlike customary salads in which the primary element is crispy lettuce. The chicken, packed with flavor, was quite tender; the grape tomatoes were juicy; and the “spicy” broccoli was crunchy.
Altogether, it was fairly good, though not much above standard. The part that did catch my attention was the blocks of white cheddar cheese. By using blocked cheese, the salad had extra nuggets of flavor filled with tangy kicks dispersed throughout.
Sadly, the frozen yogurt was not nearly as tasty as the salad. While you can choose your (remarkably healthy) toppings, the yogurt does not truly deserve its name. This is not your typical frozen yogurt, as it is neither creamy nor sweet (I expect they made this yogurt a bit too healthy), and it comes off more as a mild sorbet. The toppings I chose (blackberries, toasted coconut and almonds) were nothing exceptional, and the yogurt had very little substance.
Still, Sweetgreen was fairly adequate overall. The salad was decently priced at $9 in light of its taste and quantity.. If the yogurt had been more up to my standards of dessert, I would wholeheartedly suggest you try a full meal there. But for now, just stick with the salad.