Sorry, But Sweetgreen Is NOT The New Power-lunch.

I recently read an article on how sweetgreen is where millennials are power-lunching!. I hadn’t been in a few years so decided I needed to check out this bold assertion in person. Five lunches later, I’m done.

Here’s what I found

I was excited to try sweetgreen’s three new Fall menu items. All sounded delicious especially the Curry Cauliflower (and it was!).

I also tried one of their bowls and one of their regular salads.

Two out of five menu items were delicious. Three were blah.

To me, that isn’t a ringing endorsement for the menu side of things.

The store itself is clean and easy to navigate and the staff is great.

And I appreciate the calorie listings although skeptical of them since in preparing your salad, they ask you how much salad dressing you want, i.e., light, medium or heavy (and we all know the dressing is where the calories lurk). They also offer a delicious-looking bread that I am sure is not included in the calorie count either. I asked my server about it. She was startled by the question but thought it was a good one!

Scroll down for more on sweetgreen’s hits and misses
Two Highly recommended salads
The Curry Cauliflower: 475 calories

It includes blackened chicken thighs, curry roasted cauliflower, shredded cabbage, cilantro, raisins, warm quinoa, organic arugula, sweetgreen hot sauce, cucumber tahini yogurt dressing.

I got it for take-out and asked to have the dressing and the hot sauce on the side. Both yummy.

Winter Squash + Blue Cheese Salad: 515 calories

Delish!! This is the winner!

Roasted squash, pears, shredded cabbage, basil, blue cheese, roasted almonds, raisins, shredded kale, organic arugula, balsamic vinaigrette

Again, took this home and had them put the dressing on the side. Their balsamic vinaigrette is fantastic.

And then the misses
Chicken + Brussels Salad: 420 cal

I had such high hopes for this!

Roasted chicken, roasted brussels sprouts, roasted sweet potatoes, apples, raw walnuts, organic mesclun, chopped romaine, cranberry maple vinaigrette

Blah. Sounds way more interesting than it turned out to be. Also not crazy about the dressing. Perhaps with the balsamic vinaigrette, it might have been more flavorful?

Shroomami: 640 cal

Organic wild rice, shredded kale, raw beets, cucumbers, basil, spicy sunflower seeds, warm portobello mix, roasted sesame tofu, miso sesame ginger dressing.

So caloric. So salty. So awful. I would NEVER order this again.

Spicy Thai Salad: 440 cal

Roasted sesame tofu, raw corn, cucumbers, shredded cabbage, basil, cilantro, spicy sunflower seeds, organic arugula, chopped romaine, lime squeeze, spicy cashew dressing.

Again, sounds great but disappointing. No flavor.

This is, however, one of my favorite salads at by Chloe (a competitor of sweetgreen’s located just around the corner in Nolita). I would get the by Chloe Spicy Thai salad any day of the week. It leaves sweetgreen’s version in the dust.

Bottom Line.

It’s nice (and perhaps healthy) to get salads and bowls from sweetgreen and the like but I’m not sure I would call it a power-lunch. Also, I think all their salad fixings, i.e., the squash, the beets, the chicken, tofu, etc., are all pre-packaged. The only items that look 100% fresh are the salad greens, i.e., the lettuces, kale, spinach, etc. That’s disappointing.

That said, each of these chopped salad places is jampacked from the time they open to mid-afternoon so, while it might not be a power-lunch, it is certainly a popular-lunch!

Here’s the link to the Eater piece that got this whole story rolling.

Share this post on: