I’m not a chain restaurant kind of guy, but when one comes along that does it right, I’m on board. A few years back I described the perfect restaurant to have lunch at that combined fresh, flavorful ingredients prepared and presented in a manner that does not induce a mid-afternoon food coma, and that was Luna Grill.
We’ve all have had that conundrum of having a huge appetite at lunch, then over-indulging in food that weighs us down and can be a detriment to afternoon productivity.
Luna Grill has a menu full of options that offer healthy yet satisfying options that solve that problem in a delicious way.
I’ve actually since expanded my Luna Grill love to dinner, which has proven to be equally rewarding. Their newish location in Encinitas is quite convenient as well.
Recently, continuing the latest evolution in its popular bowl line, Luna Grill announced the rollout of the new Beyond Meat Coastal Med Bowl across all locations.
Priced at a modest (considering the ingredients) $9.95, the bowl features a bounty of complementary ingredients, including Beyond Meat’s seasoned Beyond Beef, basmati rice, torshi, Greek cabbage, tomato and cucumber medley and pickled onions drizzled with tzatziki and Mediterranean pesto.
It’s definitely a unique flavor, and I’m still not clear what the seasoning is in the Beyond Beef, but it’s pretty darn good.
For those of you who have been living under a rock for the past couple of years, Beyond Beef is 100% plant-based ground meat designed to deliver the delicious taste and texture of beef, but made using simple plant-based ingredients without GMOs, soy, gluten or artificially produced ingredients. An easy substitution of tahini for the tzatziki creates a completely vegan dish that is sure to go over big in these parts.
The new Coastal Med Bowl is Luna Grill’s first bowl to feature Beyond Meat products, and it offers a whopping 24 grams of completely plant-based protein. This is their second menu item featuring a Beyond Meat protein — following the addition of the Beyond Burger in 2018.
Another newer addition to the already fabulous menu is the Santorini Bowl, filled with rice, kale, Greek cabbage, couscous, tzatziki, hummus, pickled onions and olives, drizzled with Mediterranean pesto and topped with either grilled chicken or falafel for a vegetarian option. Other bowl line items include a Better Beet Bowl and the El Greco Bowl. I could eat a different one of these bowls for lunch or dinner daily.
And let’s not forget their signature kabob plates, gourmet salads, appetizers (including organic hummus and falafel), wraps, desserts, craft beer and wine.
One of my favorites that goes back a few years and a great example of what I have described as the perfect lunch is their Mediterranean Chicken Salad. It combines chopped all-natural chicken, Israeli couscous, tomato, cucumber, red onion, fresh mint, Italian parsley, green onion and feta cheese tossed in a house vinaigrette and served on a bed of lettuce.
It’s such a flavorful combination of textures and it accomplishes that elusive appetite quelling yet not over-full feeling that I detailed. I could eat this salad several times a week and be perfectly content, but the beauty of Luna Grill is they have an entire menu full of similar dishes.
Another favorite is the sampler platter, which is a good way to get a few tastes and textures on one plate — including the falafel, grape leaves, couscous medley, hummus and pita bread. When doing dinner at Luna, this is consistently ordered to get things started.
Their signature plates include a selection of kabobs, gyros, and seafood options. They all come with a house salad, basmati rice, pita bread, cucumber-yogurt dip, and your choice of carrots or grilled tomato garnish.
Dessert options consist of mini baklava, an amazing carrot cake cookie sandwich, mini- cupcakes and more. Dessert should not be an afterthought here; I sampled one of everything and will be doing more of that as the cookie sandwiches are crazy good.
Luna Grill is really quite affordable given the quality of ingredients and the fast, casual service. They have a full catering menu available as well, which would be a perfect option for business lunches or other events.
Check out North County locations and the full menu at www.lunagrill.com.