PETE TITTL: WaBa Grill offers another healthy and tasty option | Food
Healthy dining options continue to thrive in the local restaurant industry, and WaBa Grill is a prime example.
This Los Angeles-based chain was formed by three friends in the 1990s with the slogan “Eat Smart, Be Healthy”. One opened in October at the corner of Panama Line and Ashe Road, and another is located on California Avenue by California Fish Grill.
They specialize in organic foods, never-frozen chicken, wild salmon, on-site marinated rib eye, organic tofu, and jumbo shrimp in plates and bowls. It looks a lot like an upgraded version of Flame Broiler, another healthy food chain that came to Bakersfield a long time ago with a similar product. The good news is that foods that are good for the body can taste great.
Of course, there are differences, which is why you are reading these words. The menu offers more choices, including more protein and four different sauces. The vegetables are not cooked as long as at Flame Broiler, which gives them a more raw texture. I’m sure it’s intentional.
The food is an interesting mix of Asian and Central / South American cuisines like the garlic serrano sauce which is my favorite, although the spicy WaBa with a togarashi seven spice blend is also quite amazing. And the dumplings were a surprise. If you’re strapped for cash, the healthy menu with its mini bowls is a great option.
We visited a few times, ordering Sweet & Spicy Chicken Bowls ($ 8.79), Shrimp Vegetable Bowl ($ 10.99), and Rib Eye Steak Vegetable Bowl ($ 9.79) ) as well as an order of dumplings. All were excellent, but the beef selection in particular was above the Flame Broiler product. It is the quality of the meat, so tender and tasty, that made this product special. We had it with spicy WaBa, but I think the garlic serrano would be perfect for this.
The chicken is made with their sweet chili sauce, and it works great with poultry. The WaBa sauce with its pineapple, orange and lime juices mixed with soy sauce and brown sugar should be more interesting than it seemed to me at first glance, but maybe it was in pain. compared to other sauces. I tried it with shrimp, which had grilled marks but the tail heel too, so there was some work to eat them.
As I mentioned, the vegetables are not blanched as long as those in Flame Broiler, but some people prefer the firm, raw taste. I think the staff need to be proactive in offering optional brown rice as we weren’t even aware it was available and we weren’t even able to taste it. They didn’t ask you during the ordering process asking “white or brown rice?” As the Flame Broiler staff do.
Pork and veggie dumplings, commonly referred to as potstickers, come in plates of five, 10, or 20 pieces ($ 2.69 to $ 10.39) and what we sampled could fit into a Chinese sit-down restaurant. This place is quite small in the dining room, casual, almost fast food in speed and plastic wrap. The value menu items are interesting and include a “loaded” miso soup with tofu or chicken ($ 3.50). Family meals are also available for four for $ 20.99 with chicken or tofu, a little more for the steak.
Only two salads: signature house and spicy Asian chicken. No alcohol, no table service. Delivery is a work in progress, but most WaBas offer it. I recommend getting the app as you can order it in advance, easily pick it up, and receive special offers via SMS and email notifications.
Pete Tittl’s Dining Out column appears in The Californian on Sundays. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @pftittl.