Archive | July, 2012

Delicious or Nutritious? Energy Kitchen

27 Jul

1089 2nd Ave (btwn 5th and 6th)
New York, NY 10022
212-888-9300

Bored of salads and in need of something quick and healthy I ordered from Energy Kitchen, a fast food chain where every dish is grilled, baked or steamed and thus under 500 calories. One of Energy Kitchen’s main ingredients is bison meat.

Bison cheesesteak meal
Sea Salt baked fries & Corn and edamame salad

An alternative to groundbeef, their Bison cheesesteak wrap was definitely as hearty as your standard cheesesteak but with a lot less cheese and bread – must be where they save the calories. My two sides were a delectable Corn and edamame salad – a combo I’m now upset I hadn’t heard about before – and sea salt flavored baked “fries”. Despite not being cooked in oil, these and the Cajun fries I got with my Chicken burger were still pretty decent.

Chicken burger meal
Cajun baked fries & Broccoli

Although baking the “fries” may have caused them to lose the crunchiness that traditional ones usually have, it was refreshing to find that their broccoli was steamed and maintained its crisp. This particular side dish however is best consumed on the first day. The Chicken burger, made of ground chicken, was great although it could have used just a little more seasoning. Their turkey options seem to be better seasoned, which is why I’m glad I also ordered a Turkey meatloaf wrap.

Turkey meatloaf meal
Black bean and mango salad & Brown rice

The Turkey meatloaf wrap was more like turkey parmigiana, served with mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce. It was good, but a little awkward to eat in a wrap instead of with a knife and fork – which was also an option. The Black bean and mango salad was DIVINE, and an excellent pairing with their Brown rice. Both sides though packed more calories than most of the other options, with 141 and 210 calories respectively compared to the 30 – 100 calories most of the other side options contained.

Hearty meal items with less than 500 calories that leave room for side dishes a dietician would approve of? DELICIOUS and NUTRITIOUS!

Delicious or Nutritious? Havana Central (Times Square)

25 Jul

151 W 46th St (between 6th and 7th)
New York, NY 10036
212-398-7440

Seeking a hearty meal that would satisfy me and still leave me with leftovers, I took a look at Havana Central’s Cuban menu. Their affordable prices gave me many options to choose from in the $3-$20 range.

Empanada Sampler
Three cheese, shrimp, chicken

I love, love, LOVE empanadas and was excited to see they offered an Empanada sampler – your choice of three of their six savory fillings. The shrimp sofrito was decent – nothing noteworthy about it but the chicken sofrito packed more flavor and the three cheese was well worth whatever calories one gets from eating a fried cheese patty. For some reason three empanadas just wasn’t enough fried food for me, so I also had sweet potato fries and churros.

Sweet Potato Fries

For $5 the small portion of Sweet potato fries was not really worth it. The order was about a handful, came a bit cold and soggy, and didn’t taste much better than sweet potato fries from any other place. Should’ve ordered the corn. Churros also came as a small portion – three medium sized sticks with a side of caramel sauce and again, decent but not necessarily notable. Both were good enough to order again, but next time I’ll know what to expect.

Sugarcane lime chicken salad

Since the previous night’s Ginger glazed Scottish salmon salad did nothing for me, I tried Havana’s Sugarcane lime chicken salad. For $14.50 the portion size was GREAT with an excellent ratio of mixed greens, avocado, black bean corn salad, red onions, tomatoes and crumbled platanos chips. I requested their house red wine vinaigrette, which did give it a weird taste, leaving me convinced that the standard citrus coconut vinaigrette was a much better pairing. The chicken itself was seasoned and flavored impeccably! This dish even held up the next day as a leftover.

Perfectly flavored chicken and empanadas that rival homemade? Como se dice? DELICIOSO!

Delicious or Nutritious? Josie’s Restaurant

24 Jul

565 3rd Avenue at 37th St
New York, NY 10016
212-490-1245

Craving something light to help me detox from the weekend, I decided to try Josie’s Restaurant, a Midtown East eatery that “revels in innovative healthier New American cuisine”.

Ginger grilled calamari

Their Ginger-grilled calamari appetizer came served with pineapples and a red pepper salsa. The grilled pineapples were an interesting and very appropriate addition to the calamari; the red pepper “salsa” however was more like a stew and didn’t seem to add anything to the dish. Perhaps had my meal actually come in 20-35 minutes like they estimated instead of the one and half hours wait time I experienced, the calamari itself would have been more fresh and less soggy. I was looking forward to the main course their Ginger glazed Scottish salmon salad. Let’s just say my level of satisfaction with this meal dropped even further.

Ginger glazed Scottish salmon salad

For an $18 salad I did expect a large portion – which I received – but hoped for a better balance between the ingredients. The few bites of avocado and sprinkle of feta cheese were gone in about four mouthfuls, leaving me with a large piece of salmon and a tub of just romaine and baby arugula. While the salmon was well flavored it was a bit too crispy for my taste. Their pink and creamy dressing was void of any flavor, so I substituted in my own balsamic vinaigrette. There were no visible pumpkin seeds as the menu stated would be included. Needless to say I wasn’t very impressed by any part of this salad and only slightly pleased with my appetizer. I probably won’t be ordering from Josie’s again anytime soon.

TONS of greens, Omega-3s and a grilled version of a fried classic? Not the best tasting meal I’ve ever had but… NUTRITIOUS.

Delicious or Nutritious? Neely’s BBQ Parlor

21 Jul

1125 1st Avenue
New York, NY 10065
212-832-1151

In honor of the passing of Restaurateur Sylvia Woods, the “Queen of Soul Food”, I decided to have some soul food, from Neely’s BBQ Parlor. I’m normally not the biggest fan of southern cooking as most of the cuisine consists of fried foods and lots of butter, but there are a few selections I enjoy from time to time.

For $37 including a tip I had a FULL meal complete with an entrée, four sides and dessert! The “Blue Ribbon” Chicken – named so because it is cooked with a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer in its belly, NOT because it was a prize winning chicken prior to being cooked and consumed – was the only part of my meal flavored with something other than butter. The entrée came with two sides, so I chose sweet potato fries and macaroni and cheese – both of which come as small, but appropriately-sized portions. The sweet potato fries were great and held up the next day as well. The macaroni and cheese however was heavier and creamier than I personally like and was made with shells rather than traditional macaroni. The half chicken and two sides were definitely enough to fill me up and save leftovers, but I couldn’t resist also ordering my favorite soul food side – cornbread.

“Blue Ribbon” Chicken, $17.95; Cornbread with Creamery Butter, $3.50; Steamed Tiny Green Beans, $4.95

Apparently I hadn’t had enough carbs so I ordered the cornbread, which came with two pieces in an order. I was delighted to find that the cornbread was indeed moist and not dry like some other soul food spots. Even though I didn’t need it I spread the tiny packet of creamery butter that came with the side and of course it tasted even better. Since my leftover lunch salad from Pescetore didn’t complete my daily vegetable requirements, I added on the steamed green beans to my order. Bad decision. The green beans were flavorless and no amount of butter, salt or pepper could save them. The only thing that could save my palate at this point would be dessert.

Warm Peach Crisp with Caramel Ice Cream, $7.00

The warm peach crisp came with a large scoop of caramel ice cream and that combination was IMMACULATE! The crisp was portioned just big enough to satisfy my sweet tooth without packing on TOO many additional calories to my already carb-laden meal.

Well season chicken, moist cornbread and sweet cobbler. Downright DELICIOUS!

Delicious or Nutritious? Pescatore Restaurant

20 Jul

955 2nd Ave (btwn 50th and 51st)
New York, NY 10022
212-752-7151

Late nights at work mean ordering delivery from a local restaurant, and for my first overtime meal I decided to try Pescatore Restaurant – an Italian eatery that, as its name suggests, serves primarily seafood. For under $40 I ordered a salad and entrée that left me full with extra food to spare.

Mediterranean Salad, $9.95

The Mediterranean salad came as a larger portion that I’d expected for my appetizer – so much so that I saved more than half of it for lunch the next day. The cucumbers were very crisp and there were just enough black olives and onions to add flavor without overpowering the taste of the tomatoes, feta cheese, peppers and red wine vinaigrette.

Jump Shrimp Scampi, $23.95

My entrée – the Jumbo Shrimp Scampi included five very jumbo pieces of shrimp and a saffron risotto with lemon white wine sauce. The dish did have the perfect ratio of shrimp to risotto, both well seasoned. They could have used just a little less salt, as its presence in the meal was strong and I believe contributed to my subsequent heartburn. Altogether the meal was a perfect portion to satisfy moderate hunger.

Crisp vegetables and flavorful risotto? I’d say this was DELICIOUS!