Freshii–Fast casual on The Hill
Freshii, a fast casual restaurant opened on the Hill last August. It offers a diverse menu of soups, salads, wraps, bowls and sandwiches along with a wide array of fresh pressed juices. The happy news is that Freshii manages to live up to its promise to deliver a healthy meal that pops with flavor. All the dishes have been designed to give the diner a thoughtful mix of textures and flavors.
Freshii’s formula is to compose entrees with a base of crisp crunch from the vegetables and soft textures from the noodles, rice and quinoa, and then top them off with sauces and dressings that combine a punch of sweet and spicy. As is very common in this style of fast casual (think Chipotle or Mod Market), you can customize your order by adding and deleting ingredients. In addition, you have the option to add a protein, such as grilled chicken, turkey carnitas, tofu, or falafel, for an extra fee. However, unlike other fast casual restaurants, the emphasis is on lean proteins. The proteins are tasty but not overly spiced or salted. The meats are hormone and antibiotic free. Freshii uses local ingredients where possible and about 50% of the vegetables are organic.
The dressings complement the assortment in each dish and drive the menu’s international flavors, such as:
American—BBQ, Buffalo, Honey Mustard
Asian—Teriyaki, Siracha, Peanut, Lemongrass
Mexican—Cilantro Lime, Pico de Gallo
Mediterranean—Balsamic, Red Bell Pepper, Olive Oil
We sampled a smattering of the menu and here is what we found.
The lemongrass soup had nice balance of bright flavors from cilantro and tomato balanced with tang from the lemongrass. It’s a big bowl of soup and a good value.
The chili is a vegan base of beans including, black, kidney, white and chickpeas. It has a good flavor and a creamy texture. You can order the chili over rice or on top of a salad. We tried it with the turkey carnitas, which was exceptionally tender and flavorful.
The salads and wraps use the same combination of ingredients, letting you choose to have your meal served in a salad or wrap format. The wrap has two options – a whole wheat tortilla and a very interesting twist on a gluten free dish. Rather than using a gluten free grain, Freshii rolls your wrap in a blanched collard green leaf. Its bright green color is not only fresh and beautiful, but makes for a lighter meal. It reminded us of the lettuce wrapped appetizers common in Vietnamese restaurants. We sampled a Cobb gluten free wrap. The filling was a traditional Cobb with bacon, cheese and vegetables dressed with a very good honey mustard dressing. The dressing delivered a pop of sweet and spicy, beautifully complementing the creamy avocado and smoky bacon. We really enjoyed the collard wrap as it gave the wrap an extra dose of crunch. However, be warned —if you choose this preparation, grab some extra napkins as the greens can’t hold the plentiful fillings as efficiently as a tortilla.
We also sampled the Metaboost salad. It is one of the lighter salads on the menu, with an interesting mix of vegetables, goat cheese, almonds, and a nice vinaigrette dressing. While not as flavor-packed as other menu items, its well-balanced flavors were delicious.
The bowls are good sized portions. They use a brown rice base, however you can substitute quinoa or kale for the rice. The Pangoa, a TexMex option, is their most popular bowl. It is quite filling, laden with rice, black beans, avocado, tomatoes and corn, and dressed with a sweet and spicy BBQ sauce. The sauce was a little sweet for our taste, and if ordering it again, we would try it with either quinoa or kale to lighten it up. Continue reading “Freshii–Fast casual on The Hill”