If “Seinfeld” character Elaine Benes was real, she would love Green District — A Salad Spot.
Elaine’s go-to at Monk’s Café was the Big Salad, and Green District has that well-covered, with a selection of house blends plus a build-your-own option with plenty of ingredients from which to choose. And if you think it’s all “rabbit food,” well, there are plenty of meat options as well, and you can also get yours in wrap form.
I stopped in recently in the original location in St. Matthews — two of the fast-casual restaurants launched last summer, the other downtown — for a salad as a late lunch and a wrap to take home.
I ordered The 502 salad, but there are plenty of tasty and cleverly named salads like Thai One On (yes, a Thai salad), Tequila Mockingbird (Southwest-style, with shrimp), You Are What You Beet (with beets and quinoa), and What About Cobb (you’ve already guessed what this one is).
The 502 includes chicken, red cabbage, sharp cheddar, carrots, grape tomatoes and jalapeño, topped with croutons and crispy fried onions. House salads are listed with suggested bases, in this case romaine and iceberg, and dressings, which for this salad was ranch and a “drizzle” of barbecue sauce.
I got it house-style, sans the iceberg, and watched as the staff plopped the ingredients onto a cutting board, chopped it all up with what looked like a huge, rocking pizza cutter, then plopped it into a bowl for tossing. It was all so quick and efficient that I couldn’t look away.
They followed the same routine with my wrap, but without the bowl (more on that later).
It was a big salad — a very big salad, and well worth the $8.95 price tag. Elaine crossed my mind as I began eating, and I quickly noted that, because of the chopping, you just have to stab-and-grab with your fork, and what you get is what you get, for the most part.
If you want to enjoy, for instance, a big bite of chicken or a whole grape tomato, you’d better inform them in advance not to chop.
The benefit is that it’s kind of fun not knowing, although twice I was caught off guard by a couple of spicy bites of jalapeño, and I’m sure I looked like an idiot to the staff and other diners when I coughed my head off. I love heat, but if I’m not looking for it, it can be like a fastball to the chin.
The ranch and barbecue mix was a new one on me, with a blend of sweetness and tanginess that was balanced by the jalapeño and a healthy dose of black pepper from a shaker on the table. But the highlight here is that everything was fresh and crisp, and it never feels bad when you know you’re eating a healthy meal.
I ordered a tomato basil wrap for my to-go order, which I dug into later that evening for dinner, and I kept it fairly simple with spinach, beef, red onions, feta, avocado and Green Goddess dressing.
I have to admit the wrap was even better than the salad. With the first bite, I knew I’d made the right choice with the Green Goddess, and the fresh avocado added a creaminess and nutty note.
The beef, onions, spinach and feta all joined in to create a savory experience that had me saying words like, “Wow.” And I’ve never been a fan of anchovies, a key ingredient in Green Goddess, but I loved the dressing.
The wrap was creamy, crunchy and, unlike the salad, I would never recommend getting an un-chopped version — this blend was spot on. The wrap set me back close to $10, but it was the size of a large burrito and was easily stretched into two small meals.
In short, even George Costanza could find a way to be happy at Green District. Well, probably.
Green District — A Salad Spot, located at 126 Breckenridge Lane, is open 11 a.m.-9 p.m. weekdays. The downtown location at 225 S. Fifth St. is open 11 a.m.-3 p.m. weekdays. The restaurants also serves dessert options, like cookies, and sides, like pasta salad and chips.