Restaurant Review: Pocket Produce
Pocket Produce has created a safe space for the salad people. It made its debut in Clintonville last month, selling… salads, salads and more salads.
Truth be told, the menu is more interesting than it sounds. In fact, the following statement is painfully true: if you try one of their salads, you’ll be interested in trying more. Part of that comes from the convenience: you get to see, up close and personal, every salad before making your decision. Guests don’t look at pictures on menus, they look at the salads themselves.
Here’s how it works. The kitchen crew makes a variety of salads every morning, and layers them in see-through plastic containers. It’s like a series of salad parfaits. All those salads go in open fridge, where guests can inspect the containers and make their choices. You pay at the counter, like any fast casual place, and there’s a just a few chairs and tables for those who want to stick around. Mostly, it’s targeted for the get-n-go crew.
Let’s start big with with Killer Cobb ($9.50). It has chunks of grilled chicken — truly grilled, not boiled, shards of briny bacon, avocado cubes, corn, boiled egg quarters, a greens mix of romaine and kale, and this part is critical: fresh parsley and cilantro. Those herbs add distinct brightness to the mix. It’s all good stuff, there’s no filler in there.
Nicoise salads are a personal weakness: Grilled Salmon Nicoise ($12.50) is a good one. More salmon would be most welcome, but guests can see exactly what they get before picking out the salad, so you can slap some more fish in there for another $7 (but then you have a twenty dollar salad, and that’s a whole new ballgame). Anyway, the silky salmon is perfectly grilled, with olives, eggs, long green beans, boiled redskins, some greens, again with the parsley and cilantro plus this time, basil too: those herbs are game changers in the salad scene. So much so, that the resident manwich fan lamented that there was no Pocket Produce downtown.
Moving over to the sides, we tried the Marinated Kale Salad ($3.95): it’s a simple prep, with soft wilty leaves, diced onion, and an appealing dressing based on apple cider vinegar. The Potato Salad ($3.95) is built on firm red-skins accented with the summertime flavor of fresh dill.
Even for someone who is not particularly a cauliflower, or quinoa fan, the Cauliflower Quinoa Tabouli ($3.95) is a score. It has the most mysterious, homogeneously silky texture from riced cauliflower and the grain. The mix is amped up with the elements of tabouli: parsley, mint, lemon and cucumbers. As tabouli typically has a grainier texture, it makes the sensory attributes of this combo fascinatingly likable.
Beyond the land of salad, there are also smoothies: the Green Glory ($6) has enough honey, banana and pineapple to make its green element (kale) and almond milk sweetly drinkable. Inhale-able, even.
You can find Pocket Produce at 3496 N. High Street. It’s open weekdays from 11am until 7pm, and Saturdays from 9am until 4pm.
For more information, visit www.pocketproduce.com.
Update: If you want to sample some food from Pocket Produce (and over a dozen other restaurants and local food makers), check out our upcoming Healthy Bites event on July 29th! CLICK HERE to get your tickets before they sell out!