Newks Express Cafe [2/5]
2 (40%) 1 vote

One night, in search of a light, low-key dinner, the hubby and I found ourselves at the relatively new Newks Express on Airport and Whitesburg. I had heard high praise of their salads and was eagerly anticipating a delicious dinner. Sadly, the food did not live up to the hype.

Newk’s is an order up front, seat yourself type establishment. We took our time pondering the menu and making our selections. I was disappointed that the small salad and half a sandwich combo was only available with the Simply and Ceasers salads so instead settled on the Ultimate salad while the hubby went for a Black and Blue. It wasn’t until we reached the register that I glanced over and realized the part of the kitchen devoted to salads was essentially a salad bar in which they did the assembling. We ordered anyway, filling up our drinks and picking up silverware on our way to the table.

Our food came up quickly and I was rather dismayed by the sight of my dinner.

It wasn’t until I dug through to the center that I discovered my toppings and vegetables. The whole concept of a pretossed salad distresses me. Food should be made to look appealing as much as taste appealing and getting a salad that looks half eaten is not enticing. It’s just not that hard to stir things around with my fork and toss it in the bowl. (Especially with such a generously sized bowl.)

The flavor of my food was hard to pick out as everything had been drowned in the honey mustard “dressing”. I use that term very loosely as it resembled nothing more than a honey mustard dipping sauce–too thick and overwhelming for the more delicate flavors of a salad. The lettuce was mostly Romaine with a bit of iceberg and baby spinach thrown in for good measure. The grape tomatoes were hit or miss with a few being deliciously ripe and most being mealy. The chicken had a wonderful flavor when I could find pieces not doused with dressing, but several of the pieces also had odd hard bits that were clearly out of place. The cucumbers were crispy, though whatever flavor they had was throughly lost. The included croutons were an odd mixture of chewy and hard that did nothing to improve the salad. The ham was generously thick and sliced finely but again, the flavor was drowned out by the dressing.

The “famous” breadsticks came four to a package and I was happy to see ingredients I could recognize on the packaging. Thin, crispy bits of air, the breadsticks were clearly designed to have mass appeal. There was nothing to hate, but nothing to love either.

The hubby was much happier with his salad (shown at the top of the post) than I was with mine. The abundance of steak earned it a 6.5/10 on his scale.

I was disappointed in my food, much of which stemmed from the salad being pre-tossed. Not only was it unappetizing, but I would have preferred to have control over how much dressing was applied. With some truly amazing cafes in town, I won’t be back.

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