Energy Kitchen’s Stab At A Healthy Cheese Steak Fails At The Word “Wrap”

Every once in a while I get a strange urge to go into one of those chains that promises to feed me food that’s supposed to be bad for you, but that they’ve somehow transformed into a healthy lunch that will make me a well-oiled machine. I’m usually I’m a well-oiled machine because I’ve just eaten a greasy gut-bomb for lunch, not because I’m so full of lean protein. One of these chains is Energy Kitchen and although I’ve walked by the Nassau St. location (btw. John & Fulton) countless times I’ve never gone inside. Was it the “Nothing Over 500 Calories” emblazoned on the door that scared me away? Maybe. When profiled lunch’ers Charlene and Kate said they went there, and specifically mentioned the bison cheese steak wrap, I took notice. And further research turned up a bunch of commenters in midtown saying they chose this wrap over The Pump’s version of street meat. I mean, could this bison cheese steak thing actually be good for its advertised 474 calories?

Everywhere inside (and out) you’re beat over the head with just how healthy this place is. I already knew what I was ordering, but a look at the menu showed nothing I could indulge in to soothe a crappy day. Even the brownies had protein in them. I ordered the bison cheese steak wrap ($8) and waited while it was cooked to order. I guess that’s a nice touch – being able to hear actual meat sizzling as it’s prepared for your fast food lunch. Score one for Energy Kitchen.

As you can see the wrap was about the length of a regular square napkin, so even before I unwrapped it I was a little bit discouraged. It resembled a burrito when unwrapped because the whole wheat tortilla (your only option other than multigrain) had been steamed.

Eating this thing wasn’t as painful as I had feared. The bison wasn’t dry and there were enough onions and mushrooms to keep things interesting. My complaint was there seemed to be no seasoning, and more importantly, no cheese. It was like an expedition where every time I took a bite I would think “This is the one where I get a mouthful of cheese!” That didn’t happen until about three-quarters of the way through when I finally spotted some.

I asked for hot sauce and ended up using two packets of it for some added flavor, even though it had no heat to it whatsoever. The biggest insult after eating an $8 wrap and knowing exactly how many calories I’d consumed was that I was still really hungry 10 minutes later. Maybe I’m a heartier eater than some, but adding a side will definitely put you over the $10 mark, and I refused to pay $3 for broccoli.

Eating the bison cheese steak wrap will in no way fool you into thinking you’re eating a real cheese steak and would better be marketed as a bison burrito. Then again, I guess it’s better than eating a salad.

THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say)

  • No matter where I turn, I am reminded of how healthy I’m being.
  • I can eat a burger (made of ostrich!)but still feel good about myself afterward.
  • They offer a wrap loosely-based on a cheese steak, and I love wraps!

THE — (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)

  • The attempt at health comes at the expense of things like cheese and flavor.
  • If I pay $8 for a wrap, I want it to fill me up.

Energy Kitchen, 71 Nassau St. (btw. John & Fulton), (212) 577-8989


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