The term "fast food" used to be synonymous with words like "greasy" and "fattening" but eateries like Crisp Salad Works are doing their best to redefine quick meals. At their newly opened branch just across from Ebisu Garden Place, the team at Crisp Salad Works offers fresh and filling super-sized salads with vegetables mostly sourced from around Japan.
The menu at Crisp Salad Works - printed in both English and Japanese - offers diners the choice of either signature salads or custom creations. For the do-it-yourself variety, customers begin with a base of romaine lettuce, spinach or wild rice and add on ingredients from there. Toppings include carrot, red onion, roasted tofu, snap peas, grilled corn, apple and a host of other choices. Many of the vegetables are sourced from within Japan; the romaine lettuce, for example, comes directly from a farm in Tochigi Prefecture. There are also a few premium ingredients, such as avocados and cheeses like feta and shaved parmesan. The bowl is then finished off with one of the restaurants homemade dressings, made daily on site.
For those who prefer a pre-made mix, the signature salads offer a range of tasty combinations with catchy names. The Hipster mixes romaine lettuce and perfectly grilled chicken with feta cheese, celery, apple, raisins, walnuts and a basil onion dressing. The Cal-Mex takes the same base as the Hipster but adds avocado, tomato, red onion, homemade croutons and a Mexican honey vinaigrette. Liven things up with the Spicy Baimai (spicy broccoli, cilantro and sriracha dressing are highlights) or go vegan with the Earthy Nutty Crunchy (black beans, tofu and tahini are a prime focus).
The menu is very clear on which items are vegan and which include gluten, for those with allergies or food sensitivities. It also includes information on calories per serving, though company president Hiroshi Roy Miyano says that isn't really a focus. He emphasizes the goal is just to get people to eat good, real food.
Signature salads range in price from ¥980 to ¥1360. Custom salads begin at ¥940. It's worth springing for the restaurant's homemade lemonade (¥430) to accompany your meal, though water and bottled beer are also available.
Crisp Salad Works is located on the eastern side of the Ebisu Garden Place complex, an 8-10 minute walk from the east exit of Ebisu Station.