There’s lots of Mediterranean places to eat in Rutherford County, comprising of all manner of styles. Greek, Italian, Middle Eastern…but there’s one fast-casual option that combines fast-casual fare with Mediterranean flare. Zoe’s Kitchen is located just where you would expect it, in the Gateway/Avenues zone at 2222 Medical Pkwy, Suite F Murfreesboro, Tennessee 37129. Let’s shout Opa! And dance into the review, shall we?
Zoe’s has a little more effort into the branding and recognition on the outside of the building than other places nearby. This place is easier to pick out than some. Like many eateries along The Med (Medical Center Parkway) Zoe’s shares a parking lot with other businesses in a strip mall development. Parking isn’t an issue I think, though on a particularly busy day it might. Three feet into the inside, you are met with a wall that has an arrow directing your journey. I dislike being met immediately with a barrier. The feng shui is all wrong with that and I don’t feel welcome. Turning to the left a narrow passage leads to the next turn, and then to the ordering counter. (Wow, that sounds like a Dungeons and Dragons adventure description) You don’t get much chance to see a smiling face or make contact with anyone till you have to make decision points. The service is friendly and the food good, but the first thing I would like to see when I enter a restaurant is a smiling face, not a wall.
The color scheme for this concept seems to be avocado green and burnt orange. I don’t know how I feel about it. I really don’t. It kind of excites me and slows me down all at once. Its weird. The seating is varied, some areas offering more privacy than others. A patio was in use when we arrived, tables with umbrellas to shade from the sun well kept. Options for couples or larger groups are in evidence.
Counter service once again. This format is very widely used in the current market, and I find for most of the foods I eat in places like this it works. The people were helpful and explained my options patiently and well.
Like most fast-casual concepts, the food is the star of the show. We met with the owners of Readyville Mill for a lunch date and to discuss business, so we got to see their dishes as well. I’ll focus on what The Missus and I ordered for the sake of brevity, but be sure to check out the pictures for a look at all the dishes.
If you saw my video yesterday, you know I have to be careful with everything I eat now. Every meal is like a math problem…a Matrix to be deciphered by a culinary Neo. I choose the power grain bowl. It is comprised of lentils, quinoa, farro and rice with house-made tzatziki, Moroccan harissa, Mediterranean relish, cucumbers and fresh dill. I added chicken to it for a total of about 870 calories. The bowl’s grains balanced out for me by having diabetic-friendly foods (lentils, cucumbers, and quinoa for example) with the rice. The rice in this instance was brown rice, which is not as good for me as wild rice, but not as bad as white or sushi rice. Combined with the fibers and proteins in the bowl, my blood sugar 2-3 hours later was 114 which is 16 points inside my target range. Even when you are eating “bad” things, depending on what you eat with it, your body plays in the sandbox with things differently. The ingredients were very VERY fresh. The hot items were hot and the cold items cold, making for a very interesting profile of textures, flavors, and temperatures. For my reduced portion plans, it was kind of too much food. I got very full very fast, especially with the rice, and could have easily turned my $10 meal into two $5 meals. Not only was the food tasty, it LOOKED good. Very nice presentation. To wash it down (I rarely drink anything but water these days) I chose a sparkling water.
Cans of Spindrift sparkling water were available and I chose the raspberry-lime flavor. Let me tell you…once you get so used to sugary drinks and you try something that is not sweetened like you expect…it’s a bracing experience. Like biting into a snow cone after drinking hot coffee.
The Missus had the Cauliflower Rice Bowl with lamb meatballs for a choice of protein. “Riced” items are something I am learning about, and I tried a bite of this item. Let’s just say I will have to grow into this one. Other than the lamb, the main ingredients were chilled cauliflower rice with house-made tzatziki, Israeli skhug, feta, cucumbers and fresh dill. Before the protein was added, this dish rang in at 560 calories. That’s pretty low for a good size portion of food. Only the lamb was a hot item in this bowl, and the riced cauliflower makes it a really different experience.
You guys know my targets by now: floors under tables, trash receptacles, drink stations, table tops. All passed with flying colors. I’ll be honest; I visited here several months ago and had a much different experience with the cleanliness. Glad to see it’s turned a 180.
Simply put: A healthier meal made simple to get with fresh ingredients and tasty options. Not hard to find or get into, and you can dine-in or get it to go. Hard for me to find any negatives on this visit, other than the design of the entry way. Comparably priced with other concepts in the area.
4 out of 5 peace signs! Dig it!
Like this thing. Comment on this thing. Share this thing with someone you love. It’s sugar free. (The Missus gets all my sugar.)
“Make lunch, not war”!