Small Bite: UFood Grill

Parents, take heart: Now you can take the kids out for fast food and feel good about it. Roseville’s UFood Grill, a bustling branch of an ever-growing chain, offers what it calls the next generation of fast food: dishes that are baked, grilled or steamed instead of deep-fried. Vegetarian options abound, as do whole-grain brown rice, breads and tortillas, fresh fruit and free-range meats. The grilled cheese sandwich comes on wheat-berry bread, chicken fingers are oven-baked, burgers are made with USDA choice beef, and the accompanying bacon is turkey, not pork.

The cheery, warehouse-size restaurant, with its efficient counter and friendly staff, whizzes your food out fast enough to make your head spin. There are grilled entres, such as turkey medallions with cranberry glaze, and UBowls: brown rice with your choice of topping, such as Tofusion (organic tofu, vegetables and ginger-soy glaze) or Chopstick Chicken (chicken, broccoli, carrots and teriyaki Thai chili sauce).

The Buffalo Bleu Chicken wrap, overflowing with chicken, chopped lettuce, tomatoes and bleu cheese buffalo sauce, was quite dry, as was the Southwestern Chicken UBowl, with lots of rice and a modest topping of black bean chili, salsa and cheddar cheese. Flavors were good, though bland, and I felt very virtuous as I ate my meal. The UnFries&emdash;trans-fat-free, oven-baked french fries&emdash;were a disappointment: Soggy and oily, they couldn’t hold a candle to real fries. The high point of my lunch? A creamy, cinnamony sweet-potato mash&emdash;perfect for Thanksgiving.                                                 
                                                                          
721 Pleasant Grove Blvd., Suite 150, Roseville; (916) 791-3777; ufoodgrill.com

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