By: Courtney Dabney
It’s easy to justify poor dietary choices after a long workday or a jam-packed afternoon of errands and kids’ practices, but you can say goodbye to dinners that come in flat boxes or buckets. Geared toward the busy lives of locals, Lettuce Cook provides fresh gourmet food that only requires a quick reheat before serving at the dinner table. A diverse menu comprised of super salads, hearty sandwiches and breakfast items can also be savored at Lettuce Cook’s off-the-beaten-path location on White Settlement.
The hippie vibe at this quaint hole-in-the-wall pulses off the neon green walls, bright orange seating and eccentric artwork. A massive mural, inspired by the three wise monkeys (see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil) and created by local artist Jimmy Jenkins, occupies the exterior wall of the building and acts as an identifying marker for restaurant newcomers.
During our midday visit, we were greeted by a laid-back trio that was constructing sandwiches behind the counter. The dining area was bustling, and it looked like everyone had either a salad or a sandwich in front of them. We followed suit and ordered the Super Food Kale Salad ($9.50) and the Turks N’ Durks sandwich ($9.50).
The wait was lengthy but well worth it. Treasures abounded in the Super Food Kale Salad. Salty and sweet, large kale pieces were tossed with toasted pepitas, coconut, Craisins and a light strawberry dressing. My only suggestion would be in how the raw kale is prepared. The salad could have been significantly improved if the stems had been removed from the kale leaves.
Piled high with several pieces of oven-roasted and thickly sliced deli turkey, the Turks N’ Durks sandwich released complex flavors in the first bite. Baby Swiss, caramelized onion, avocado and tomato each played their parts well, but the star of this sandwich is the sweet, smoky Durkee Sauce, a magical combination of mustard, vinegar and mayonnaise. Served with a side of coleslaw, the Turks N’ Durks is among the best sandwiches I’ve encountered in town. Wanting to experience the convenience of Lettuce Cook’s grab-and-go options, I picked up dinner and a few sides to serve my family at home later that evening.
As I emptied the brown bag containing our dinner, I searched the boxes for reheating instructions and discovered there weren’t any. Using my best judgment, I warmed the Honey-Glazed Carrots ($3), Hatch Chili Mac & Cheese ($7) and Wild Caught Halibut Meals ($25 each).
What we discovered in the take-home sides is that seasoning is minimal. This is likely because the chef is allowing customers to season according to their particular tastes.
After reheating in the microwave, the carrots were rubbery and dry. There was no detection of honey at all. The other side of Hatch Chili Mac & Cheese was slightly watery and lacked in cheese, but the addition of peppers provided a nice kick. Not wanting to dry out the halibut in the rewarming process, I placed a damp paper towel over the dish before microwaving. A small filet of well-seasoned fish rested on a generous portion of sautéed veggies. It was a hit with everyone.
Prep time for dinner was less than 10 minutes, and clean up was a cinch. Options are endless as the meals change daily at Lettuce Cook. If you call ahead, they’ll even bring your order out to the car as you pull up. I can foresee Lettuce Cook being a regular option on days when cooking a healthy dinner isn’t feasible. It also offers full-service catering for any size event.
Location: 5101 White Settlement Road, Fort Worth 76114
For Info: 817.989.2665, lettucecookgourmet.com
Hours: Mon.-Fri. 7 a.m.-7 p.m., Sat. 7 a.m.-4 p.m.
What We Liked: The Turks N’ Durks sandwich had original, robust flavors and a generous portion of quality meat.
What We Didn’t: The grab-and-go items were lacking in seasoning.
Our Recommendations: You can’t go wrong with one of the sandwiches or large salads loaded with healthy ingredients.
By: Courtney Dabney