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Taste Test: Energy Kitchen
January 24, 2013 | 11:00AM

All words: Robert Winship
All photos: Steve Jeter

 

Energy Kitchen made its mark on the crowded streets of D.C., though without the fanfare of the next great conceptual kitchen. Touting a healthy spin on fast food, the New-York-born franchise has something to offer, even if the look is coincidentally similar to its next door neighbor, Sweetgreen. Energy Kitchen’s menu boasts a respectable array of burgers, sandwiches, shakes, salads and desserts with a healthy hook: no item over 500 calories. The meals are one size fits all, with the 1:1 rendering of the meal size depicted in D.C. branch’s overhead chart. Nothing is fried, only baked, grilled or steamed. Though it carries the look of a bland juice bar, the offerings are worth a taste.

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At the Kitchen’s opening, the attendees were offered a few items from the lighter-leaning menu, including both the veggie burger and the BBQ turkey burger. The veggie burger ($6.49) was fresh and satisfying mixture with touch of cayenne to bring the garden blend up to snuff. The veggie option also seemed to stay together well. The BBQ turkey burger ($7.49) was even more surpirsing as wholly savory and topped with bacon and chipotle sauce to a smokey beefy effect.

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Among the other samples were the superb protein brownies (light, but sweet), a fruity protein smoothie, and small shots of corn & edemame and mango-blackbean salad. The latter concoctions were fresh if a little bland and don’t carry much weight against the almighty French fry (classic and sweet potatoe varieties). The French fries were baked and somewhere between high end pub fries and home-made. Energy Kitchen does right to ease off the salt and grease, which helps the food feel like a meal and not a regret.

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Energy Kitchen may be opening more D.C. locations in the near future, and spreading not just a good ideas but a close, practical alternative in other neighborhoods.

Energy Kitchen is located at 1901 L St NW.

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