Urban Salad Bar: A lunch spot that’s quick, reasonable and healthy

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BY KAREN YOUNG

Urban Salad Bar is what I consider one of those great “stumble upons.” As in, I literally stumbled upon it after shopping at Blush Boutique at Encino Place. Since I don’t live in the neighborhood, this was a teeny bit of a destination day.

The salad bar is fresh with unique salads and sides. Photos: Karen Young

 

Hungry, I peeked inside the small eatery. Clean and rather stark, I saw a long salad bar and decided to check it out. I’m a big salad eater, but generally stay away from salad bars, as something about them tends to leave the produce flavorless.

My salad bar creation with bulgur tabouli, hummus, edamame, persian cucumbers and grape leaves, among the other fixings.

 

This one, however, looked different— and as it turns out, has a restaurant pedigree behind it. The owner and the executive chef are both seasoned restaurateurs. Owner Nazlee Alexander owned Paradisio Italian Cuisine in Santa Monica  and Executive Chef Mario Tidu owned Tarzana’s La Finestra, where he also helmed the kitchen for 16 years before he sold it in 2006.

The difference in this salad bar starts with the fact that it is 85 % organic.  Alexander says that much of what they buy is from local farmers markets.   There is an assortment of leafy greens, including organic wild arugula, organic mixed greens, iceberg lettuce, romaine lettuce, swiss chard, kale and spinach. Proteins run the gamut,  including hormone free pulled chicken and turkey, curried tofu, shrimp (not the tiny bay size), bacon, tuna fagnoli (no mayo), eggs, beans and more.

Tuscan Chicken Wrap

 

But it’s Tidu’s pre-made salads and the sides that are truly the standouts and yield towards a Mediterranean theme. All are freshly made each morning.

Sides include hummus, falafel, grape leaves, fresh mozzarella with tomato and basil, tzatziki, a brussel sprout-fennel-artichoke salad, grape leaves, roasted peppers and beets. Pre-made salads  include a pasta salad, southwest salad, a bulgur tabouli, waldorf salad.

Organic peanut butter, banana and honey on wheat.

 

At the end of the salad bar are homemade soups that change daily, as well as pita, zucchini pancakes, caulifower pancakes and potato pancakes.

In addition to the salad bar is a sandwich menu with grilled paninis, wraps and toast. Each comes with a side of cole slaw or chips. I had the Tuscan Chicken Wrap with sun-dried tomato, olive spread, goat cheese, tomato, lettuce and roasted pepper. Delicious. My dining partner chose the very fun Organic Peanut Butter, Banana and Honey sandwich on wheat. The sandwich selection is interesting and includes — Urban Pizza with ham, tomato sauce, mushrooms, olives and mozzarella; Roast Beef with horseradish, aioli spread, mushrooms, onions and provolone; Chicken Pesto with bell peppers, onions, lettuce and provolone.

Located on the first floor of Encino Place Shopping Center.

 

I’m certainly glad I stumbled upon it. It’s perfect for a quick and healthy lunch. I only wish it were around the corner from me.

Urban Salad Bar 16101 Ventura Blvd (First floor of Encino Place Shopping Center), Encino Monday-Saturday 11:30 – 4 pm. (818) 981-8112. Salad Bar $6.99 lb.  Sandwiches $4.50-$7.95, Soups $2.50 – $3.50.  Two-hour free validated parking in underground garage.  No wait service. 

Karen Young is the Publisher/Editor of My Daily Find .  Email her : karen@mydailyfind.com

About Karen Young

Karen Young is the founder of My Daily Find.