It's hard to imagine a menu descriptor that sounds as full of promises yet as unappetizing as "detox." Yet, it's the latest health-conscious jargon to be employed by local restaurants. Both Sweetgreen and recently opened fast-casual eatery Hälsa use the word on their menus.
Sweetgreen introduced a seasonal "detox salad" on its new winter menu. The dish includes shredded kale, organic arugula, watercress, spicy broccoli, red onion, pears, avocado, and "umami" walnuts (flavored with extra virgin olive oil, salt, a secret blend of spices, and nutritional yeast flakes). It's topped with a "housemade seasonal detox dressing" made of lemon, ginger, garlic, and chili powder.
Sweetgreen culinary director Michael Stebner says the detox salad is the first salad he's made where the name came before the ingredients. "Something that is detoxing has a cleanse quality, helps to clean your blood, helps to clean your liver, your kidneys, your [gastrointestinal tract]," he says. What he discovered: That pretty much means everything that's healthy. "So it was very, very easy to come up with the salad," he says.
Kale, for example, has a lot of fiber that helps clean out your gastrointestinal tract. Garlic has nutritional compounds that help to clean your blood and aids your liver. And then there's watercress, which, Stebner says, "is kind of the new kale... We're constantly looking for the next kale." Read more The Latest Menu Label for Health-Conscious Diners? “Detox”