This California-based fast casual chain is similar to Panera, but with a wider variety and higher price point. The layout is cafeteria style where you grab a tray and walk down the line to the various food stations to order and wait for your food.

Salads here are as good as you’ll find at a quick serve place. The portion size of the grilled steak salad ($10.50) could have fed two. The quality was excellent with plenty of medium rare strips of steak topping the greens. The mango salsa provided a good mix of sweetness and spice. Another good option is the arugula, beet and fennel salad ($10.50) topped with feta, toasted almonds, and a blood orange white balsamic vinaigrette.

Options for kids are plentiful, but not always good. The kids grilled cheese ($6.50) was nothing special, but satisfied just the same. More disappointing was the kids chicken meal ($8.50). Heavy on broccoli and light on chicken, my kid wasn’t crazy about the dryness, seasoning or anything else about his meal.

Right before you hit the registers, you’ll pass display cases full of desserts. The chocolate pudding ($3.50) proved to be the perfect size for an after meal treat. Served in a small glass jar the thick, creamy pudding had just the right amount of sweetness. Even better was the moist chocolate layer cake ($5.50) with vanilla cream between layers of dense cake.

This place isn’t cheap, but it’s a better alternative to similar spots if you’re looking for a quick meal. Healthy options can be found throughout their menu but if you’re weak-willed like me you’ll succumb to temptations before checking out.

3.5 Stars

3972 Barranca Pkwy
Irvine, CA 92606

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