This week, we turn our reviewing pen to LYFE Kitchen, the new health-conscious would-be chain in Culver City. We urge you to read the full review here, or look after the jump for a condensed version, plus some extras.
Food: LYFE aims to deliver affordable food quickly, which is pretty much the American way at this point. The revolutionary part is that this food is healthy -- low salt, low fat, low calorie. As a result, things that naturally taste good in this state, like veggies and salads, are pretty good. And things that kind of need salt and fat, like burgers and grilled fish entrees (which really need seasoning to shine), seem awfully bland. Much of the food tastes a lot like Trader Joe's frozen entrees, just blander, albeit made with more care and fresher ingredients.
Drinks: LYFE isn't 100% virtue -- they do serve beer and wine, and it's not a bad selection for almost-fast-food. Better: The house made sodas, especially the apple ginger, which was my favorite 101 calories of all my visits.
Looks: Not your average chain. From the review: "LYFE isn't what you'd call high-end, but it also isn't your regular fast-food joint with bad lighting, plastic seating and tile floors. The dining room is airy and bright, with lots of woodgrain on the floors and tabletops, and trendy white-and-orange upholstery, plus a large, multitiered planter spilling live herbs and greens in the center of the room."
Service: Here's how service goes: You stand in line and order at the counter. You are given a GPS tracker, and food is run to your table. No one tells you, but you are responsible for getting your own silverware and water before sitting. The question becomes: if your only interaction with the service staff is ordering at a counter and having food dropped at your table, how much are you expected to tip?
Takeaway: One star (fair). LYFE's ambitions are admirable, and some of the food is tasty. There's certainly a place for better, more wholesome food in the fast-casual market. It's hard to actually recommend the place, despite all that.