Restaurant Review: Cafe Romeo

May 25, 2013 § Leave a comment

I’ve always thought of Cafe Romeo as a hipster, grad student place, maybe because it is located further up Orange St. away from the undergraduate residences. It’s an open air, casual restaurant/cafe that serves a variety of sandwiches, paninis, salads, as well as hot beverage and baked goods.

During commencement weekend, my parents had not yet arrived and some of my friends and I wanted to avoid the crowds that were inevitably jamming all the popular New Haven establishments. I suggested Cafe Romeo as a more out-of-the-way place for dinner. We took a lovely walk under the setting sun up Orange St. until we reached the cafe. There is counter service, so we each ordered inside before settling down outside at a sidewalk table to enjoy the warm day.

After perusing the menu for a few minutes, I decided to go with the Chicken Florentine salad (~$9), which is grilled chicken on top of spinach, baby tomatoes, and red onion.

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It’s always difficult to predict how large and filling salads will be, but Cafe Romeo did not disappoint! There was probably half a pound of tasty grilled chicken piled on top of my salad, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that the chicken was warm and tender. My friend ordered the fig and goat cheese salad and was similarly pleased to find herself with a hefty, entree-sized salad. Overall, everyone enjoyed their meals as well as the reasonable cost.

I’m sad to have discovered this place at the end of my college career, but I hope there will be an occasion to come back in the future!

Restaurant Review: The Little Salad Shop

November 27, 2012 § Leave a comment

I finally visited New Haven’s only dedicated salad shop, The Little Salad Shop, located on High Street. It’s a cute little place, too small to eat in, but easy to drop-in and order a custom-made salad. I ran there one night when a conference call ran over so I missed dinner in the dining hall. At these salad places I like to take advantage of the build-your-own salad. A basic salad with greens, 4 vegetable toppings, cheese, and dressing is $7, and a protein costs $2 more.

I choose romaine, and added on tomatoes, cucumbers, mushrooms, hardboiled eggs, and roasted red peppers, with roasted turkey on top. Unfortunately I went later at night and they were out of some toppings like palm hearts. Let me tell you, they do not skimp on the portions! All the goodies were piled and packed tightly into a large cardboard carton, with two pieces of bread included. The box must have weighed at least 2 pounds. You definitely get your $9 worth – I could not eat this all in one sitting.

The ingredients were fresh and the turkey was tender and added a nice flavorful protein boost. I do wish that the toppings could have been mixed into the salad a bit better, instead of just being thrown on top of the lettuce. Some of the pieces were a bit unwieldy to eat since nothing is chopped up. Then again, I might just be spoiled from Chop’t and Sweetgreen in DC over the summer. However, this is a great healthful way to get in your daily vegetable servings. If this location were closer to where I live, I could see myself going a lot more frequently.

Restaurant Review: Serendipity 3 DC

July 15, 2012 § Leave a comment

Serendipity is a quirky diner/bar/dessert establishment in the heart of Georgetown in DC. It’s pretty famous for its desserts, especially the frozen hot chocolate. A friend and I decided to check the place out on a Saturday night around 7. I was surprised to see that there was not a line – the place was pretty empty and we were seated promptly. However, about half an hour later there was a good amount of people lined up by the doorway, so I guess timing is key.

Their menu is full of American classics, from burgers and sandwiches to crab cake salad and omelets. I finally decided to get the S3 Chopped Chicken Salad, which is a mix of artichoke hearts, tomato, chicken, and corn with ranch dressing.

The vegetables were all very fresh and colorful. The corn had just been cut off the cob, and the lettuce was crisp and the tomatoes very sweet and juicy. The chicken was a bit tough and lacked flavor, plus some parts were a bit burnt, and I suspect that the artichokes were from a can. All in all, a pretty decent, large salad, though not worth the $15 price tag. Also I admit that this choice wasn’t the most exciting, so I probably shouldn’t judge Serendipity based upon it.

A table next to ours was celebrating a birthday and all of them ordered deliciously decadent-looking desserts, so next time I’ll know what to go for!

Restaurant Review: Sweetgreen

June 3, 2012 § Leave a comment

First – I promise I am going to stop eating out all the time! I went to Trader Joe’s and bought $40’s worth of food that I can use for lunch and dinner. In fact, I am currently microwaving a sweet potato as I write this post! But before I stocked my fridge, I had brunch with a few friends at this place on George Washington University campus called Sweetgreen. It is a similar concept to Chop’t, as both have a make-your-own salad option. The place was pretty empty for noon on a Sunday, and first we were worried that it wasn’t open.

The price and selection are comparable to Chop’t. At Sweetgreen, you start off with a lettuce base and 4 free vegetable toppings at around $6. Then you can add cheeses and meat for an additional cost. I chose a romaine base with tomatoes, roasted broccoli, mushrooms, cucumbers, and a dijon mustard dressing. They ask if you would like light, medium, or heavy dressing, and the light option was definitely plenty. I added half an avocado for $1.25. It was a terrific decision – they literally scoop out half a perfectly ripe avocado and mix it into the salad.

On the side, I got a big piece of multigrain bread. I enjoyed the bread a lot; it was soft on the inside and had a great chewy crust. Sorry about the odd green tint to the photos – not sure how that happened! Maybe I accidentally left the setting on night vision…

The size of the salad was a lot smaller than the ones at Chop’t, though I appreciated the more diverse topping options. The roasted broccoli was delicious, and the mushrooms were cooked (I despise raw mushrooms!). The avocado chunks were the best part, and of course I left them for last. I think I’m done with salad places though. I could make them same salad for so much cheaper, if I put in a little effort and go out and buy all the ingredients, and now I can, with my recent grocery load!

Restaurant Review: Chop’t Creative Salad Company

May 30, 2012 § 1 Comment

Sorry for the unpicturesque photo! I took it after my meal was half eaten. For lunch today all of the interns decided to venture out into the neighborhood to grab a bite. A few of us wanted to check up Chop’t, a place down the block where people were lining up outside the door. The concept is pretty simple – pick a salad base, toppings, and then the person behind the counter uses a multi-knife contraception to rapidly chop up the mixture into bite size pieces. It’s nice because salad is usually such a messy meal to eat. The people work so quickly that the I got my food in no time, despite the large amount of customers. I picked a romaine base with eggs, carrots, broccoli, sugar snap peas, and their spa ranch dressing.

It was a massive salad – mostly volume from the romaine lettuce, but I definitely could not finish the entire thing in one sitting. The ingredients were fresh and crispy, and I loved the spa ranch. Their line of spa dressings caters to the health conscious, and the spa ranch had a very mild and light taste. They also gave me a random piece of tortilla with my salad.

One complaint I had is that you receive 4 free toppings with the base of the salad ($5ish), but once you are up to the counter choosing the toppings, there is nothing letting you know which toppings are included in the free category and which costs extra. So egg whites, avocado, meats and cheeses all have an additional fee. Still, I got an enormous, healthy meal for about $7, so I can’t complain.

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