Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Mad Greens

Today I ate lunch at Mad Greens, which is one of those new chains that mostly does giant salads. (They also have paninis, soups, chips, and the usual brownies & cookies if you want dessert.) I had never eaten at one of these before, so I wanted to check it out. Even though I don't usually prefer the Giant Salad Meal, it seemed like there might be some good quantity of vegetables involved. So I went.

You can order any salad you want from the ingredients they have, and they also have set combinations that you can order by name. All salads start with a base of either romaine, baby greens, or spinach. I ordered the "Ty Cobb Salad", which has (by default) romaine, tomatoes, bacon, avocado, red onions, and boiled egg. I asked for baby greens instead of the romaine (which looked a bit pallid) - substitutions are no problem. I chose not to pay extra to add a protein (they have a lot of options including tofu, salmon, chicken, and steak of various types), and I chose ranch as my dressing (the recommended one for my salad was spicy bleu cheese).

They make your salad in a giant metal bowl and, if you are eating in, serve it to you in a smaller metal bowl. The salads come in two sizes and I had ordered the larger size. It was pretty big - probably larger than you'd ever make a salad at home, even if you meant it to be your whole meal.

The ingredients in my salad were very good, especially the bacon, which was thick and very bacony. The avocados, bacon, and eggs came in somewhat smaller amounts than you might normally expect in a cobb salad of that size, I thought, but when I ate the salad there seemed to be plenty of all of them. The dressing was good and came in the right amount. (The guy who made it asked me if I wanted a small, medium, or large amount. I asked for medium and he mixed it all into the salad for me. I assume you could also get it on the side if you wished.)

The salad plus iced tea came to about $9. Had I added a protein it would have been $11-14 depending on which one I'd chosen. So those places are definitely not cheap.

Ultimately I did not feel very satisfied by my meal. It was a great salad, but I am not really used to having a giant salad as my whole meal, and either the fact that it wasn't hot food or the lack of protein made it not feel like I had really eaten. (I guess if you consider that salad greens have almost no calories - though they have lots of nice nutrients - my lunch really consisted of a medium-large quantity of ranch dressing and about 1/4 cup each of bacon, boiled egg, and avocado.)

If you like to eat a giant salad and paying $12 or so (which is, after all, what you'd pay for the same thing in a restaurant once you include tip) doesn't bother you, then I'd recommend Mad Greens. I enjoyed the quality and convenience of the food. I probably won't go back there myself, though.

1 comment:

Sally said...

I basically love having a big salad for lunch, though that may be in part because the "everything is more calorific and luxuriously prepared in a restaurant" effect kicks in in a major way as you think "it's salad; how bad can this be"? Ummm....pretty bad, actually. This said, I even really liked having (albeit free) salad for lunch at school this past summer and that salad bar was relatively lame.

I have often found, though, that meals tend to be not as satisfying as warm ones. If I've had a couple in a row, I get grumpy and feel underfed in a way that has nothing to do with actual calorie intake. When the on-site restaurant had a fire and was closed down while R and I were on vacation at Olympic NP, I was utterly pissed off because it eliminated the warm-dinner-you-don't-have-to-drive-a-gazillion-awkward-miles-to-reach option.