In Which I Brave The Craziness That Is The Just Salad Lunch Line

Despite having worked in the Financial District for four years now and having co-workers who clutch their brightly-hued plastic Just Salad bowls before going out to lunch, I have never stepped foot in the place or even felt compelled to. Yes, I reviewed a salad from Cosi once, but seriously you guys, the bread is the whole reason anyone goes there. What does Just Salad have? Why is there always just as long of a line snaking out the door at the Maiden Lane location as a couple of doors down at Chipotle where at least you’re rewarded with a ginormous burrito? These were the questions coursing through my brain as I committed to trying a salad from a place that I learned is misleadingly named.

Really, they should call this place Just Salad (plus a few other things that are not salad). You can get your roughage in a bowl or in a whole wheat wrap. You can get frozen yogurt from the “Culture Bar.” Hell, if you’re really feeling crazy you can get a bag of kettle chips.

It may have been a Monday when I went here, and I may not have fully been awake, but I found the number of decisions asked of me to be overwhelming. After ordering my Asian Sesame Grain salad ($7.25) from a girl who handed me a slip of paper, the madness began. I wasn’t even building my own salad but I still had to confirm that yes, I wanted everything on it – twice – and then that I didn’t want it chopped (it was anyway), followed by choosing a dressing from a list of a dozen and the directive to tell my salad chopper when to stop squirting said dressing on my salad. I screwed up at least two of these things.

I do have to hand it to this place that I ordered, and had a bucket of salad in my hand within a few minutes. There was a lot happening with this salad once I dislodged the sliver of foccacia bread from the top of it. I was impressed with the amount and quality of the chicken in here. It wasn’t the spongy, processed stuff that is found in salads and some chain places. And through this salad I discovered what exactly a wheatberry is as they were present along with wonton strips, green beans, red cabbage and quinoa. There’s a nutrition calculator on Just Salad’s site, but I didn’t need to consult it to know this was probably the healthiest thing I’ve eaten all week.

Would I deal with the line at Just Salad on a regular basis? No, but I did like this better than an atrocity I had at nearby Chop’t one time when dragged there by a co-worker. That salad was so “chop’t” into oblivion that I couldn’t even bring myself to write about it. I still don’t understand why people go marching down the street with their reusable salad bowl in hand every day, but at least I can say I tried.

Just Salad, 100 Maiden Lane (btw. William & Pearl), (212) 244-1111


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