The Dish List: Bowls
When first I walked into Bowls, a new healthy fast food joint on Pacific Coast Hwy and Superior Avenue in Newport Beach, I was immediately asked if I would like to try their steak and handed a hearty chunk of meat on a toothpick. After just one bite, I knew I had come to a great place for tasty grub.
It seems that today, most young adults want everything done their way — especially when it comes to food. Restaurants most popular among college students are those that allow them to take liberties with their menus. Countless young folk enjoy making their own sandwiches at Subway, their own burritos at Chipotle, and recently, even their own pizzas at Blaze Pizza. Now, a new fast food restaurant allows its visitors to fill their own rice, salad, fruit or breakfast bowls with almost any ingredients they would like.
Conveniently located at the center of a large mini-mall and in walking distance from the beach, Bowls presents a new take on the rice bowl with its make-your-own ordering style and endless possibilities for what to mix together in a disposable plastic bowl, from salads, to meat and rice concoctions, to vegan-friendly fruit combos.
Ordering food at this bright green-walled casual eatery is a five-step process. First, you pick your bowl size — Papa, Mama or Junior. The “Papa” size provides an average-sized portion of food for a hungry adult. Next, choose between steamed white or brown rice. Third, for meat, the options are steak, chicken or half-and-half. I recommend either the fresh and savory steak, which seems to be Bowls’ specialty, or the half-and-half, which combines steak and chicken in a delicious mixture of meat flavors. Next, pick your veggies — I picked onions, bell peppers and carrots, my favorites from their wide selection — and finally, your sauce — soy, teriyaki, Plum BBQ or Tangy Hot.
The steamed veggies in my Papa-sized half-and-half bowl were a little soggy, but the salty and flavorful teriyaki sauce — one of the best I’ve ever tried — as well as the tasty pieces of steak and reasonable price — only $6.99 — more than made up for this.
Meat and rice bowls are only part of the Bowls experience. For vegetarians, vegans and salad-lovers alike, Bowls offers an extensive variety of vegetables and salad favorites in a salad bar that includes a dozen dressings to choose from and salad items that include more than just the generic lettuce and tomatoes. The salad bowls are also reasonably priced at only $6.99 per pound.
Bowls’ menu also features Acai Bowls and Breakfast bowls. The Acai Bowls include chewy topping choices such as granola and bananas, as well as liquids like almond milk or soymilk. Breakfast bowls feature combinations like “Steak and Eggs” or “Eggs and Sausage.”
For a restaurant that has only been open for three weeks, Bowls has been doing quite well, according to its owner Keith, who, with his brother Kevin, co-founded the innovative eatery.
“Some locals have been in here five or six times already,” Keith said.
Keith and Kevin came up with the idea for Bowls when thinking of how to combine the fast and the healthy.
According to Keith, Bowls is “something healthy; something that doesn’t exist right now.”
With the recent success, Keith and Kevin are planning to open four more Bowls restaurants in just six months, in Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach and other nearby Orange County cities. It seems that healthy food is most appreciated in beach towns.
“It has to be in a place where people care about eating healthy,” Keith said.
Luckily for Bowls, college students equally appreciate healthy food as well, and for teriyaki bowl-loving Anteaters, who may be sick of the few bowl options Cha for Tea and other local eateries have to offer and would like a quick bite while exploring Newport Beach, Bowls is definitely worth a try.
With its convenient location and hours — Bowls is open every day, 8 a.m. – 10 p.m. — as well as its tasty food and friendly staff, Bowls will surely continue to gain popularity.