Remember the school cafeteria line? It was often an unpleasant journey past a steam table of limp vegetables, oily tater tots and mystery meat.
But Urban Plates, which just arrived in Playa Vista, is proving that dining-by-tray can be a healthy and delicious experience. The growing restaurant chain puts a super-fresh spin on the cafeteria concept with an abundance of organic produce, clean meats and culinary preparations.
As you proceed through the line, you’ll pass various stations dedicated to salads, sandwiches, hot plates and braises. Stop along the way to chat with the cooks and sample anything you want until you settle upon your order.
The seasonal menu changes every three months, but we’re partial to the generous salads ($11) like the arugula, beet and fennel salad tossed with almonds, avocado and blood orange vinaigrette. The transparent menu denotes which fruits and veggies have been sourced from certified organic producers; the goal, says executive chef Zac Lennox, is to source the “Dirty Dozen” organically whenever possible.
There’s no mystery meat here: at the hot plate station, you can get grilled line-caught albacore, Jidori chicken or grass-fed beef ($11), along with sides like sesame broccolini and roasted Brussels sprouts. But there are also ample vegan choices, like the vegetable curry ($11) with organic tofu and veggies simmered in green curry-coconut sauce.
Sorry, no chocolate milk here: Opt instead for organic ginseng mint green tea sweetened with local raw honey ($3.50). Yep, this urban cafeteria is just too cool for school.
12476-3 W. Jefferson Blvd. Ste. 3140, Playa Vista