Bringing out the green: Is Sweetgreen worth the big bucks?

Sam Kimball

On Dec. 14, Sweetgreen opened in the Bon Air Shopping Center in Greenbrae, marking its first location in Marin. Sweetgreen, specializing in create-your-own salads and bowls, features a selection of fan-favorites to choose from. Its opening creates another option for expensive salads, so I set out to see if the food was worth the steep price compared to Marin’s other salad shops.

Harvest Bowl: 4/5 Stars

The Harvest Bowl is a Sweetgreen specialty, combining fall and winter ingredients for a filling meal.

This Harvest Bowl is a staple at Sweetgreen. Composed of chicken, roasted sweet potatoes, apples, goat cheese, roasted almonds, warm wild rice, shredded kale and balsamic vinaigrette, the Harvest Bowl offers a great combination of flavors to tantalize your taste buds. Its dressing is a tangy balsamic vinaigrette which is refreshing yet simple. The warm wild rice and fresh kale produce a flavorful taste while contrasting two different conditions of the ingredients. In addition, the sweet potatoes and apples add a lovely fall and winter ambiance. Although there were many positive aspects of this bowl, there were also some minor critiques that stuck out to me. The goat cheese’s texture is clumpy, and despite being mixed thoroughly throughout the bowl, it continued to offer a weird consistency that did not fit the rest of the dish. While the freshness and warm flavors of this bowl truly work spectacularly together, the main reason this bowl does not receive a 5/5 star rating is because of its price. At $13.95, it serves better as a once-in-a-while purchase and not a regular lunch or dinner option.

Create-your-own salad: 2/5 Stars

Composed of only four ingredients and a dressing, Sweetgreen’s create-your-own salad does not amaze.

I was extremely excited about the create-your-own salad but it proved to be vastly underwhelming. The portion sizes are meager and the selection of ingredients is limited. Choosing only four items for the salad at a starting pay of 8.95 is not economically sensible at all, especially considering an additional charge is included for any type of meat, extra ingredients or for special toppings such as hard boiled eggs, avocado or cheese. This boosts up the final total to a close amount to the Harvest Bowl for a meal of lesser value. My salad featured red onions, carrots, apples, chicken and a hard boiled egg, with Sweetgreen’s Green Goddess Ranch Dressing. The taste of the romaine lettuce was dry and the green goddess ranch dressing lacked much of the ‘green goddess’ flavor that excited me to choose it in the first place. Overall, I would stick to prepared options such as the Harvest Bowl instead of creating your own salad.

Hibiscus Berry + Clover Tea: 1/5 Stars

Sweetgreen’s Hibiscus Berry and Clover Tea lacks flavor, leaving you disappointed after finishing your meal.

Choose water over any tea at Sweetgreen! I always enjoy trying drinks at new restaurants, but the Hibiscus Berry and Clover Tea flavor is scarce in the drink, making me regret my decision to purchase it. The tea is similar to a La Croix in the amount of flavor presented, yet lacks the carbonation that La Croix has to hold the drink together. Furthermore, the fruitiness of the hibiscus berry is subdued and the drink misses any real base flavor. Adding a sweetener could possibly improve the overall taste, but I would not count on it. 

After tasting what Sweetgreen had to offer, I recommend trying it out but ordering specialty salads or bowls rather than creating your own. While Sweetgreen is rather expensive, the hip and cool atmosphere and the delicious Harvest Bowl will have me coming back for more.