Over the last few years, Harbor East has gone through a remarkable redevelopment. And even though I can still remember when it was just vancant lots littered with broken bottles and used syringes, it has now become a neighborhood known for its ever increasing dining options. When The Hyatt Place moved in last year, it brought with it several fairly decent chain restaurants, including Jimmy Johns, Cava, Nado's Peri Peri, and most recently Sweet Green, an upscale salad joint that specializes in locally sourced vegetables.
It being January and me being in the process of getting back into good eating habits, this Friday Sweet Green looked like a good place to get a decent salad.
And it is.
The menu is regional and is partially based on what is in season and available where you are. It changes throughout the year as the seasons change. The Harbor East location has a neon sign declaring the current season - a nice decorative touch that reminded me that locally sourced food do change over the year. Sustainability is among the core values published on their website. and to that end, their menu includes a brief note that the fish wee most commonly eat (salmon and tuna) are seriously over-fished. At the Harbor East location they feature steelhead trout, a rich, oily, far superior fish. Seasonal items this winter include a couple of salads featuring butternut squash, a lentil bowl with quinoa, and a bento bowl of spinach, wild rice, and the aforementioned steelhead.
There are also a number of signature salads that are available regardless of season - kale-based Caesar and cobb salads, several grain-based salads, and a hummus-based salad.
And, of course there is always the build your own option - one or two base greens, up to four vegetables (tomatoes, cucumber, bok choy, carrtos, dried cranberry among them), and the option to upscale with pricier premium add-ons that are primarily protein like meat or fish, different cheeses like feta or goat, and vegan options like falafel and hummus.
I got the bento, a nice mix of baby spinach, tomatoes, cucumbers, wild rice, and red cabbage tossed with a miso ginger vinegarette that had a nice spicy zing and topped with a steelhead steak. The vegetables were flavorful and delicious. A chalkboard hung on the wall let me know that most of it had come from Pennsylvania and Virginia. The steelhead was a good choice, too. I found it more flavorful and less sandy than salmon or tuna. My only concern was the cabbage. It was coarsely cut into peices that were larger than the rest of the salad and ended up on the side of the bowl.
The bread was a clear winner. The crust was firm but tender with a good chew. The bread itself had a slight hint of sourdough and had a nice density.
Sweet Green also serves a variety of home made frescas - juice and tea combinations like lemon-parsley-cucumber and machta tea. I had the plain lemon with my lunch. It was light and slightly sweet and went well with the salad.
My lunch buddy got a make-your-own salad with one premium add-on and a fresca. Lunch for two came in at $26.45.
And, Sweet Green wants as little as possible hitting that landfill. Their plastic utensils and cups are vegetable-based, and their trash cans are sorted so that uneaten food can be composted and glass bottles can be recycled.
The Harbor East Sweet Green is located at 1306 Fleet Street in teh Hyatt Place building. It is a nice addition to the growing number of chain restaurants and looks to be a reliable source for a healthy lunch that also supports the local economy. They take cash and credit cards.