Tired of the high fees and payouts at Boise's outdoors festivals, Chris Olson--better known as Chris the Saladman--ditched his kitchen on wheels and moved into the old Jeffrey's Next Door space at Broadway and Boise avenues.
Though Olson expanded the menu a bit in the new venue, primarily in the sandwich and burger area, it remains mostly the same, boasting a wide variety of salads and wraps, available in lunch and dinner sizes.
Chris' doesn't feature much in the way of locally sourced veggies, boutique ingredients or house-made dressings--Olson says he's been using Lighthouse for years--but it's an oasis of green in a city that loves its steak and potatoes. Dinner options, including pasta, steak, salmon and Southern-style ribs, will be rolling out in the next month or so.
The major difference at Chris' on Broadway is the atmosphere. Instead of feeling the sun on your back and grass on your keister, you can now enjoy salads under soft electric lights seated on sturdy and austere wooden furniture.
The building, which also houses a laundromat and the Broadway Bar, looks a bit like an abandoned bodega from the outside, but the inside space is long, with soothing earthtone colors and lighting from a series of brass wall lamps. Complete with vegetable-themed art on the walls and smooth jazz on the stereo, the space has the look and feel of a hotel lobby: pleasantly neutral. It's not the sort of spot one goes when seeking a hip atmosphere, but it's a step up from many of the cookie cutter dining options in the neighborhood.
A new addition to the menu is the chicken gouda apple salad ($7 lunch, $8 dinner), which Olson dreamed up when he received a sample of Lighthouse's Gala Apple Crisp dressing. In wrap form, it features a tortilla loaded up with spinach and cabbage, topped with olives, cucumbers, shredded gouda, sliced apple, cherry tomatoes and grilled chicken breast, with dressing drizzled on top.
The tart apple dressing gives a sweet tang to the veggies that pairs well with the milder, creamy flavor of the gouda and the richer flavor of the grilled chicken. Other than color, the olives didn't seem to add or subtract much from the wrap.
Also new to the menu is chicken-fried bacon, which is available as an appetizer or on a BLT. The app order comes with five strips of bacon, each of them a foot long and an inch thick with batter. However, with all that batter, the bacon wasn't fully cooked inside.
If you're looking for a light lunch free of a buffet line and don't care for things liked curried couscous or locally pickled beets, you'd be hard-pressed to do better than Chris' on Broadway. But if you want a classy night out, you'd better keep looking.