A few years ago a couple friends of mine started a company called Fresh Routes. Their goal was to bring home-cooking that fit into busy New Yorker lifestyles. They launched a home delivery service after winning the 2012 Food for Health Business Plan Competition at Mt. Sinai Hospital. And TODAY they are opening their first store front in the Union Square Subway Station. The basic concept is fresh, locally sourced dinner kits. They give you all the materials you’d need to get dinner on the table in 30 minutes. They have relationships with local vendors such as Satur Farms and Hot Bread Kitchen.
I couldn’t help but want to try this out. I love cooking at home but frequently get home late and am stuck frying an egg for the zillionth time. Or come home to an empty fridge and end up ordering on Seamless because I can’t figure out what else to do. Though the Union Square subway station is a little out of the way I went down on Tuesday evening with my fiance to see how it was.
First the storefront was small but lovely. You have to actually be IN the station to get it but I feel like they’re targeting the commuter crowd so this is quite strategic. They had Thai Coconut Chicken with Rice Noodles for $33.79, Berbere Spiced Beef with Cremini Mushrooms for $35.79 and Soho Rice Bowl with Avocado Relish for $32.49. All of these are meant to serve 4 people.
The friendly salesperson recommended the Thai Chicken with Rice Noodles so we went with that. The packaging was very cute from the outside and everyone behind the counter was really friendly and eager to help us. They had dessert and side add-ons but we stuck with the main course.
We got on the subway and made it home pretty quickly. I wish I’d taken a picture of the inside of the box because it was all very neatly packed and labeled. There was also a very detailed one page instruction sheet that seemed foolproof to me.
Also I live with a hungry man. His appetite has wowed my entire family. So when something advertises “serves 4” I really think it means serves two plus maybe a small portion left over for lunch. But when I saw how full the box was — complete with four large chicken breasts, a can of coconut milk, two squares of rice noodles — I knew we had WAY more than enough. There was a little prep needed before we got started — we sliced the chicken breast, washed and chopped the cilantro, and cut the ends off of the snap peas. Nothing too labor intensive but took a bit of time. As promised though, the whole dish cooked up pretty quickly once everything was prepped. At one point my fiance said “It’s like we’re cooking real Thai food!” and I think that’s a testament to how good and authentic the recipe seemed.
I’d say including prep it probably took the two of us close to exactly 30 minutes to get dinner on the table. And it was tasty. They had red pepper flakes on the side that you could add if you like heat (which we do) and that was a nice touch. We each had second rounds of food and still had enough for two healthy lunch portions for the next day.
As you can see — I ate it up!
All in all I think this was a great idea. And if you think about what it would cost to go out and buy all this local food and meat — I think it’s a good price for a four person meal — coming in at under 9 dollars a person. I’m excited to see how the company will change and grow and what other meals and options they’ll present to people. For example we had WAYYYY too much cilantro as garnish. Which is not to say I’m unhappy to have extra — I just think it’s something they’ll end up addressing. I know we would’ve liked a little more help with the prep (maybe slice/marinate the breast before we got to it) but that’s just because we are lazy and again — it only took us 30 minutes. I also think it’s good for people who are not used to cooking to try their hand at it in a really guided and relatively fool proof way.
So for all you New Yorkers checking out this blog, bottom line is we were very happy, it was cost efficient, instructions were clear, portions were generous, food tasted fresh and good.
Also you should know I was not in any way shape or form compensated for this post. Fresh Routes does not even know I’m writing it! If you check it out (and try any of the other dishes!) I’d love to hear about your experience.