Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Verde, Charleston, SC

A Lot Of Lettuce, Not Much Else


Although I’ve seen some positive references to Verde, the new build-you-own salad place on King Street, I have to admit that I don’t know what all the excitement is about.

One of three bright green doors on King Street (all, by the way almost next to each other), provides your entry to Verde.  You’ll have to look carefully though, as their logo is easy to miss.

Although we arrived at 12:30, usually a peak lunch period, there were only four tables of two seated in the restaurant. “Not a good sign,” I thought.

Dining Area
We proceeded toward what appeared to be the work area to see how “this works”.  In doing so we walked through the dining room which is incredibly stark.  Some might say uncluttered, but there was no d├ęcor and besides a few hints at their concept “green”, not much else. 

There is a running collage of the word “green” in different languages above the work area, but that’s about it. So if you’re going to Verde for atmosphere, you may want to keep walking.

I can say that the staff is incredibly friendly and spent time with us explaining our options.  You have a choice of four lettuce bases, 41 ingredients (you get to choose 4 before there is a $.50 charge per) and you can upgrade to add Roasted Shrimp and Turkey for $1.95 and Roasted Chicken for $2.25. There are also 13 homemade dressings that you can select from.

Lettuce Fridge
I quickly moved through the line, selecting my items.  Carrots, Mandarin oranges, crunchy noodles and crumbled bleu cheese handily made it into my salad.  And although I thought a ½ cup of chicken was expensive at $2.25, I needed some protein to round off my selection. My husband chose the BLT Wrap that included Arugula, Romaine, Bacon, Grape Tomatoes, Croutons and Classic Buttermilk Dressing. 

We additionally chose a bottle of water and I picked a diet root beer (self serve) that was made with pure can sugar.  Part of Verde’s philosophy is that “Wholesome Food and Fast Food don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Verde is for the “Health-Conscious and Taste-Conscious Alike.”  Well, with our experience, yes and no.
Make Your Own Salad

BLT Wrap
At over $24.00 for the two of us for lunch, and considering that the wrap was $6.95, I had a bit of sticker shock.  I thought that this was bit expensive for what we were served.

My husband thought his wrap was a good buy at $6.95 and found it to be very tasty. My salad at over $10.00 was definitely not worth it.  Don’t get me wrong the lettuce was very fresh, the homemade dressing, delightful, but the overall salad itself was lacking.  The piece of complimentary bread served with the salad was dry, as was the chicken. 

The ingredients were sparse, and it was much like an Easter Egg hunt to find them.  The diet root beer was the star of my lunch (which is sad, considering I was at a place that exclusively sold salads), and the overall effort for lunch was just not worth it.

So while others may write, “I love, love, love this place.”  I won’t be joining in on that mantra any time soon.

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