Fresh from the gym, our 20-something crew was hungry, tired and unwilling to trade their sweat equity for high-calory fast-food grub. So it was the ideal time to try Fort Lauderdale’s new Energy Kitchen, the only Florida branch of the budding chain.
The “fast not fat food” concept means all items are under 500 calories; hot foods are steamed, grilled or baked, never fried; buns and wraps are whole-grain, and dressings are fat-free. (A Pinecrest branch that opened last year has closed and is relocating this fall to Ponce de Leon in Coral Gables.)
We all liked the idea but not all the food. A 90 percent-lean sirloin burger wasn’t very flavorful. We liked the bison burger better, but the baked fries on the side were spongy.
The Thai chicken wrap was decent, and the asparagus and cherry tomato salad was fresh and crisp. Entrees include chicken breast, grilled salmon and a pretty good turkey meatloaf.
The website gives a complete nutritional breakdown for each item, but be sure to look at all the numbers. That chicken wrap, for example, has 1,396 mg of sodium.
Energy Kitchen also has fruit smoothies. What’s fast about their chocolate-covered strawberry version — just 262 calories — is how quickly it disappears.
Energy Kitchen, 1 N. Federal Hwy., Fort Lauderdale; 954-522-3777, energykitchen.com; 7 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 7 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday; breakfast $3.99, burgers $5.99-$7.99, wraps $6.49-$6.99, wrapless platters $6.99-$10.99, salads $6.99, kids menu $2.99.