- The Sword & Shield
by MARY FRANCES LITTLE, Assistant Editor
With the arrival of the chain restaurant, Chopt, at the Summit Birmingham, the residents of our city have been spoiled with fresh ingredients, original flavors, and never before seen creative salads along with the opportunity to create their own. The restaurant has quickly become a fan-favorite, and I tried four of their salads to see if they live up to the love they receive.
Build Your Own Bowl
The Build Your Own Bowl option at Chopt could be the only item on their menu, and I believe it would still be just as successful. Though this technique in restaurants is somewhat common, Chopt’s modern take changes the entire salad game. The ingredients are farm-to-table fresh, and customers get to choose from six kinds of greens, 17 fruits and vegetables, eight dairy items, four grains, nine proteins, and nine crunch items to add to their salad. This wide array of options gives customers a large playing field when creating their custom meal-sized salad. Each adult bowl comes with four toppings + a protein, and the kids bowl comes with 2 + a protein, but customers can add more for an additional price. And lastly, a choice from 29 different homemade dressings to top off the salad.
When I made my custom salad, I combined spinach, parmesan cheese, grilled chicken, bell peppers, and croutons, finishing it off with the House Vinaigrette. I love this medley of simple flavors that come together to create a new staple in my diet. The House Vinaigrette has a twinge of spice, enhancing the overall flavor, while the crunch of the croutons accentuates the salad overall. This salad and the build your own bowl option at Chopt deserve a score larger than the scale.
Chinese Chicken Bowl
The Chopt Chinese Chicken Bowl is composed of warm grains or cauliflower rice, cabbage, wontons, freebird chicken, rainbow carrots, broccoli, wontons, pickled red onions, and cilantro, coated in a sesame ginger dressing. I ordered mine without the rainbow carrots or broccoli, and paid an extra dollar fifty for cauliflower rice instead of warm grains. I enjoyed this bowl, but the flavor got somewhat old after a while. Additionally, the size of the bowl is overwhelming. I was only able to eat about half of the entire thing, if that. The chicken was really good, as was the cauliflower rice and cabbage, but the wontons got soggy after a minute or two. Overall, this salad was good, but not great. I would order it again, but maybe in a kids size or half it instead.
Mexican Caesar Salad
The Chopt Mexican Caesar Salad is composed of grilled chicken, romaine, jalapeno peppers, cotija cheese, and tortilla chips, all topped with the Chopt Mexican Caesar dressing. This salad is a pleasant twist on a classic caesar, as the peppers and dressing help the salad stand out from all the rest. However, similar to the Chinese Chicken Bowl, the mexican flavor from the dressing got old after a few bites. Additionally, the peppers made the salad too spicy for my liking. However, for those who like the extra spice, the flavor was a nice compliment to the overall taste. If I ordered this again, I would opt out of the jalapenos. Overall, I would order this salad again in a smaller size, as I would the chinese chicken bowl. When it comes down to the wire, just get a regular caesar salad.
Crispy Chicken Ranch Salad
Chopt’s Crispy Chicken Ranch Salad brought an array of different flavors and textures. With panko fried chicken, spicy peppers, pepperjack, celery, and Chopt lettuce, topped with chimichurri ranch dressing, the salad is a unique twist on a classic. The use of fried chicken rather than grilled brings a nice crunch that pairs well with the spicy flavor of the chimichurri dressing and the spicy peppers. Though it is still too spicy for me, that is my problem rather than Chopt’s, and I enjoyed this salad overall.They do a great job of evening out the spice with celery and chicken. I would order this salad again but omit the peppers. This is a great choice if you are looking for a spicy meal without too much heat.
Overall, Chopt has definitely blessed the Birmingham food scene, offering a healthy, easy, delicious meal choice. With fair prices and great flavors, it is the perfect place to swing by, make your own meal, or order one of their great menu choices. Chopt is a 10/10!