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The Bull's Eye

Restaurant Review: Urban Plates

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Serving quality meals in a buffet-like manner, Urban Plates is a unique alternative to eating at typical restaurants. Upon first sight, I was taken aback by the bustle of the many chefs pacing behind clear displays as they churned out plate after plate with efficiency.

Much like how you order food at Chipotle, at Urban Plates, you stand in line and ask for what you want as you drift down the long counter, watching employees make your food right before your eyes.  The chain takes pride in its organic produce, free-range chickens, grass-fed steaks and wild caught albacore and salmon among other naturally grown livestock.

The shop exudes a particular rustic feel, especially with its beige and green theme. Dim lights contribute to the atmosphere, and the entire restaurant is very spacious with well-distributed wooden chairs and tables. Customers can also choose to dine outside in a fenced, canopied area.

While waiting in line, I noticed that Urban Plates served an exceptionally large variety of dishes.  There were six specialty sandwiches, a wide selection of meats that came with two sides, soups made from scratch and nine varieties of salad which came with a small side of meat as well.  Sides included an array of different vegetable combos, along with sauces customers can choose to go with them.  Other choices include braised stews and macaroni and cheese.  The desserts also looked very tempting, with freshly baked cookies and tarts that were almost as big as a person’s head.  A rather large section was devoted to different wines and beverages as well.

As I was ordering, I was pleasantly surprised by the speed with which the chefs were able to prepare each plate. They also seemed to be very hygienic. All of them worked in their own stations and wore gloves when handling any sort of food.

My family and I decided to buy a steak salad for $13, a portobello mushroom sandwich for $9 and a turkey meatloaf with two vegetable sides for $12.  Each one was plated beautifully and looked appealing enough to heighten the appetite. The portions were very large, and we had quite a bit of leftovers to take home with us.

The salad itself was fresh and crunchy with a variety of ingredients, including pineapple, onions, mint, coconut roasted cashews, parmesan cheese and many leafy greens.  To the side of the plate were several thin cut slices of steak.  The pieces were exceptionally tender, moist and not at all overcooked with a still slightly pink center.

The portobello flatbread sandwich was simple yet delicious.  There was a nice tangy flavor from the goat cheese and a pleasant crunch from the assorted vegetables inside, which included tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and basil.  It also came with a side of oven-baked, lightly salted chips. Though the sandwich was my favorite dish because of its homey, familiar taste, it was not worth $9 because the chips took up more than half the space on the plate, leaving only a small sandwich.

The turkey meatloaf was definitely worth its price. The meal offers two thick slices of meatloaf with a container of Urban Plate’s special barbecue sauce — one of my favorite aspects of the dish due to its smoky, rich taste.  On the side was a generous helping of brussel sprouts and an assortment of yellow, orange and red carrots.  The vegetables themselves were already tasty enough, as they were seasoned well and cooked nicely. However, the meatloaf was especially good, more so when dipped in their unique barbecue sauce. It was no doubt the most filling and satisfying dish out of the three we ordered.

Both the steak salad and the turkey meatloaf came with a complimentary breadstick that was seasoned with parsley and olive oil.  They were freshly baked, soft on the inside, not too crunchy on the outside, and added a lot to the two dishes flavor-wise.

I then took some interest in their supposedly “all-natural, no preservative, cane-sugar” sodas.  After ordering a root beer, I sipped it with some anticipation.  I didn’t taste a very big difference when comparing it to normal root beer, but the soda was definitely smoother on the tongue and a great deal less sweet than the ones you buy at your average fast food chain store.

Though Urban Plates is popular, it wasn’t so crowded that it was unpleasant, and the wait for ordering is normally not very long as the line moves relatively quickly.  I have absolutely no complaints to make about the quality of their food or their service. Not only does the restaurant serve organic dishes with reasonable prices, but the portions are also more than satisfying. I would absolutely recommend it to friends and consider visiting again in the future.

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DBHS Student Publication.
Restaurant Review: Urban Plates