Protein Fit Kitchen
1151 E Southlake Blvd, Southlake. 817-329-2372. 9am-8pm daily. All major credit cards accepted.
Between turkey, booze, and enough carbs to knock you into a post-prandial coma that lasts all of Black Friday, your resolve to eat healthy this holiday season is likely going to crumble like a three-year-old saltine cracker. Good news, though: Protein Fit Kitchen in Southlake aims to provide good-for-you eats that don’t taste like health food. At the little industrial-looking deli-ish joint in Park Village, healthy wasn’t the equivalent of boring. My dining companion’s fear that the fare might taste like the recyclable containers from which it was served proved unfounded.
Everything on the menu is gluten free, although you wouldn’t always be able to guess it. Executive chef and general manager Kalen Morgenstern, formerly of the now-defunct FW Market + Table that languished for months in the restaurant graveyard that is now Crockett Row, is picking up where her bygone juice bar/grab-and-go restaurant left off.
My guest and I hit the restaurant for Sunday brunch and were impressed by the choices. While there are no Belgian waffles, there’s a variety of traditional hearty fare (including steak and eggs and Eggs Benedict) and smoothies made with almond milk instead of dairy if you’re that anxious to begin your cleanse. The Duh! Omelet was a build-it-your-way selection of eggs served with real bacon, turkey sausage, veggies, or beans. The kitchen didn’t give our combo of turkey sausage, spinach, and avocado the traditional omelet treatment. Rather, the eggs had been cooked and folded halfway over the spinach and turkey, which spilled out onto the plate –– like an overstuffed taco with a shell made of fluffy and perfect fried eggs, creamy avocado slices, and deliciously spicy chunks of turkey sausage. If I hadn’t known it was turkey, I’d have sworn it was the Other White Meat. The accompanying coffee-saucer-sized pumpkin cakes (a cross between a pancake and a muffin made of pumpkin and oats) had a divinely luscious texture and a flavor reminiscent of a good, dense gingerbread. The cakes arrived topped with sliced almonds, crunchy pomegranate seeds, and a decadent salted maple syrup reduction.
On the way out, I grabbed a few items for dinner. The single serving of braised short rib remained moist –– even after I reheated it in the microwave –– thanks to the marbling. The accompanying barbecue sauce of pickled onions and honey-tart cherry lightened up the rich dish. The cauliflower mash tasted airy and nutty, but the puree was a little thin, likely due to its infusion of almond milk.
The house meatballs were sweet but not cloying, spiced with a hefty dose of basil, slathered in a tart-piquant marinara sauce, and topped with chunks of pungent parmesan. While three meatballs weren’t quite enough to serve as an entrée, they made for a decent snack. Unfortunately, the Meat Loafa Me Gravy, an open-faced turkey meatloaf sandwich smothered in onion gravy and mushrooms, was a mixed bag. The loaf’s texture was sublimely delicate, but the meat was studded with dime-sized chunks of red, green, and yellow bell pepper that completely overwhelmed the flavor of the onion gravy (and everything else). The accompanying Brussels sprouts and leeks made up for the letdown of the entrée. Browned until they were crispy and slightly caramelized, the buttery sprouts worked in perfectly sweet harmony with the savory, oniony leeks.
Perhaps this side of Tarrant County will be more amenable to Morgenstern’s concept. With the holidays coming, its opening is certainly well timed.
Protein Fit Kitchen
Duh! Omelet $10
Pumpkin cakes $8
Braised short ribs $8
House meatballs $6
Meat Loafa Me Gravy $12
Brussels sprouts and leeks $4
Cauliflower mash $3