Fresh & Fast

Inside Fresh & Fast (photo by MJ Byers)

“Speed, it seems to me, provides the one genuinely modern pleasure.”  Aldous Huxley

Eatery:  Fresh & Fast, 111 East 23rd Street, New York, NY

It feels like I am on the mailing list for each and every one of those internet deal websites – Groupon, Gilt, ideeli, PopSugar Shop, et al.  You name it, I’m on the list.  Though my inbox is hopelessly clogged, I do occasionally come across a deal that introduces me to some cool new thing in NYC, and I especially like to take advantage of the offers if something comes along that provides fodder for this site.

I had never heard of Fresh & Fast (or, Fast & Fresh as I continually call it) before a voucher offer arrived via LivingSocial – $10 for $20 worth of food.  I bought it despite my lack of familiarity with the place (for aforementioned reason of fodder), and marched myself right over to check it out.  Early, of course, to avoid any potential crowds.

The first thing to say is that this is not an eat-in restaurant.   Fresh & Fast is a small place with only around 5-6 spots at a bar off to the side.  And it doesn’t sit directly next to a park or other area with public seating.  So, it’s pretty much a locals place (they also do deliveries) as you’ll need a home or office to which you can take your meal and enjoy it away from the prying eyes of the public.

The next challenge was the $20 voucher.  The stuff I normally order in a fast food burger joint would only amount to about $7.00 at Fresh & Fast, so I needed to put on the feedbag to spend $20.  I decided on the Double Cheeseburger combo with a milkshake to get me to $17.  The nice lady at the counter suggested adding cheese to my fries to get me almost the rest of the way, so that’s what I did – even though it wasn’t clear if these would be made with cheese or with the dreaded cheese sauce (see my Gravy post for a cheese sauce mini-rant).

While I waited for my order, I noticed an array of sauces on offer in the condiments section.  These were ketchup, honey mustard (fancy!), chipotle BBQ and hot sauce.  I already know all about ketchup so I skipped that one.  I disagree with the whole concept of honey mustard so I skipped that one, too.  That left the hot sauce and the chipotle BBQ.  The hot sauce was tasty (though not as good as my beloved Tabasco sauce), feisty and appropriately vinegary.  I actually wondered if it were made on premises – it was that good.  The issue, though:  what do you use hot sauce for in a burger place?  The fries, maybe?  The chipotle BBQ sauce was really good – thick and smokey, the way BBQ sauce should be.

I’d seen some complaints on Yelp about slow service at Fresh & Fast, but I got great, friendly service.  That said, Fresh & Fast is more about the first part of their name than the second.  When you’re in the restaurant, you’re surrounded by messages like “Made Fresh Daily” and “Fresh, Never Frozen.”  Kind of like NYC’s answer to In N’ Out Burger on the West Coast.  With that as their rallying cry, it’s going to take a minute for them to prepare the food –  so just relax, people, because the food is actually worth the wait.

Double Cheeseburger at Fresh & Fast (photo by MJ Byers)

Yes, the burger was great!  True to the marketing hype, the meat was definitely fresh and has a distinctive flavor despite a multitude of toppings (bacon, tomato, lettuce, cheese, pickle, diced onion and “special sauce”).  All the toppings were lovely and everything worked well together, though there was a bit of saltiness to the burger (as is the case with most fast food burgers).  The chocolate shake was also very good – chocolate-y without being overwhelmingly rich, thick but still drinkable through a straw.  The fries were the only thing that lets the experience down a bit.  As feared, they were topped with a not very cheesy-tasting cheese sauce so – between my dislike of cheese sauce and my general indifference about fries – I found nothing particularly outstanding about this part of the meal.

Price:  Double Cheeseburger Combo with cheese added to fries and chocolate shake – $20.00 value ($10 paid with LivingSocial voucher).

 Destination Burger:  Yes.  But you’ll have to carry it out.

Optional French Fry Rating:  OK – not my favorite.  The cheese made them kind of soggy yet not especially cheesy.

Cheese Fries at Fresh & Fast (photo by MJ Byers)

Fat and Calorie Worthy:  Burger – yes.  Fries – not really.

Today’s Weigh In:  Down another pound – lost some ground during Thanksgiving but back on the righteous path (until Christmas….maybe).


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1 Comment

  1. Sarah says:

    I think just eating real food and staying away from anything processed is the best start to eating healthy. It’s pretty easy to do. I’ve done it and already lost 5 pounds without even trying. Processed food has a lot of corn syrup and other additives, that I am convinced put on the weight. I call them hidden ingredients.

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