Thursday, October 2, 2014

Fresh Kitchen – Tampa, FL


Ciccio Restaurant Group owns about half the restaurants on South Howard – including Daily Eats, Green Lemon, The Lodge, Ciccio’s Caifornia Cuisine, and Water Sushi.  Now, they have a new addition – called Fresh Kitchen (or FK).  They focus on fresh and healthy “fast food.” 
The concept is a bit like a Chipotle as far as ordering customizable meals with choices of ingredient combinations.  They start by letting you choose two bases (citrus sticky rice, sweet potato noodles, and kale slaw are some of the options).  Then there’s the option for 2 proteins (the chicken options are included in the $9.50 price, while the steak, tuna, and shrimp are an upcharge).  After that, you pick two veggies and top it in one of their several sauces.  They also have a few Chef Specials with preset combinations for those that need a bit of help making a decision. 

It is clear that they are targeting health nuts; they only cook in olive and coconut oil, and they have a wide selection of gluten and dairy free items.  The meats are hormone and antibiotic free, and all the sauces are cold-pressed to retain all their nutritional value.  They have every trendy superfood you could think of – including quinoa, kale, chia, and avocado.  They also have their own specially made fresh juices – although at $7 - $10 a drink, they are a bit outside my budget. 

For my meal, I got the veggie quinoa with romaine & spinach as my bases, topped with the chia seed tuna poke, grilled shrimp, roasted Brussels sprouts, the seasonal squash, and avocado finished with Coconut Sriracha sauce. 

We bought our food to-go and ate it at my parents’ place.  The mix of the tuna, avocado, and Sriracha sauce in mine reminded me of the Spicy Tuna Bowl at my favorite Gainesville restaurant, Rolls & Bowls (sadly, no longer in business).  The Brussels sprouts were fantastic! I didn’t really taste any coconut in the sauce, but it was still good.  I think next time I’ll try the Japanese Carrot Ginger. 

We all selected similar ingredients, so the photos below all look the same...

Overall, I really enjoyed my meal.  The portions are generous, and the food was all very fresh.  You have to be careful because with the upcharges it can get a bit pricey, but it’s always nice to have healthier restaurant options nearby.

Fresh Kitchen is located at 1350 South Howard Avenue, Tampa, FL 33606 and is open 9am – 9:35pm Tuesday through Sunday. 

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