The latest fast casual build-a-bowl restaurant to hit the scene is called bowlicious and it opened over the summer in Fort Lauderdale. “I’m passionate about helping our community eat fresher and live fitter in a family-friendly environment,” said co-owner and local, independent restaurateur, Matthew Freeman.
At Bowlicious, Executive Chef Gustavo Baldovino has curated a menu that caters to everyone from carnivores to herbivores. Chef Baldovino is from Peru and uses some flavors and techniques from his country. Each bowl is a fusion of flavors inspired by diverse, global fare.
To be honest, I wasn’t initially a fan of Bowlicious, just based off the branding alone. The look and feel of the place felt a little bit generic to me. And when I heard the tagline “live fitter” I related it to fitness and not food. But, the two do go hand-in-hand. Fitness expert Jack LaLanne once said “exercise is king and nutrition is queen”. As a Registered Dietitian, I would have to say the reverse is true.
Anyway, after experiencing the restaurant for myself, and especially after chatting with the owner and chef, I realized I was judging a book by its cover. There are elements of the menu items (such as the Peruvian flavor influences) that give bowlicious character and set the restaurant apart from the other, similar concepts in South Florida.
I don’t usually drink soda, but I figured I would try some organic soda from the fountain assortment. Farm to fountain? Now THAT is a good tagline. #Branding
There are pre-fixed bowls available to choose from, but my husband and I made our own concoctions during our visit.
My husbands bowl, on the right, consisted of Spicy Sweet Potato Noodles, Asian Green Beans, and Savory Grilled Steak.
Chef Baldovino explained to me that he uses sirloin for the steak. It’s not grass-fed, though. He mentioned that the grass-fed beef didn’t marinate well. Plus, because of the set-up within this type of dining concept, I’m sure that the grass-fed beef can dry out quickly on the line. Chef also explained that everything is fresh, he doesn’t even have a freezer on-site. He makes all the sauces himself in-house.
My bowl included Citrus Champagne Quinoa as a base, Kale Spinach Salad, Beets Salad, Moroccan Cauliflower, and Savory Grilled Steak topped with Basil Spinach Pesto.
I liked: the dressing on the quinoa, the combination of kale and spinach for the salad, the smaller chop on the beets versus big chunks, the vibrant color they were aiming for on the cauliflower (would like to see more), the flavor of the steak, the flavor of the pesto and use of both basil and spinach in the pesto.
I also sampled some other line items including Cinnamon Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Peruvian Grilled Chicken, BBQ Pork, Ginger Chicken, and Pineapple Cole Slaw. The pork is made with TLC and goes through a series of cooking processes to yield the final product. The sweet potatoes were a little on the crunchy side which I’m not really a fan of. Both of the chicken options were good, one a bit sweeter and the other more on the savoury side. During my next visit, I want to get a bowl with ginger chicken and pineapple coleslaw – yum!
– Your health, wellness, and nutrition advocate,
Holli Ryan RD, LD/N
Disclosure: I received a complimentary experience courtesy of Bowlicious. All opinions are my own. All images appearing in this post are photographed by Holli Ryan.