I’m going to cut right to the chase about The Greenhouse. Their “You Jerk” salad is probably one of the best salads I have ever had. And it has been for at least four years now. The Greenhouse started with its first location across the University of Alberta Hospital back when I was in school. Late night studying and trips to either the Good Earth Cafe or Tim Hortons for coffee was a tradition for students. With the Greenhouse tucked away in the back shop of Good Earth Cafe, it was super convenient and refreshing after a few meals of Subway sandwiches, Edo stir fries, or Ho Ho’s ying yang rice in HUB. Ordering a “You Jerk” became a part of my studying ritual, and was my late dinner at least once a week. Ever since graduating, I haven’t had one since, and up until two weeks ago, I was seriously going into a need-a-good-salad-right-now train of thought.
Joe and I were walking around the downtown area one Saturday afternoon and we noticed The Greenhouse had opened up a second location on 101 St. and Jasper Avenue, neighbor to Bistro Praha. I told Joe about the my precious “You Jerk” salad and on our next weekend out together, we were there for lunch!
The decor mimics their University location, bright green walls, smooth white font lines, and colorful photos of their feature salads. Everything reminded me of my younger days. Oh and hey! Even the guy working there is the exact same guy who sold me my salads four years ago. When I asked him if he worked at the University location before, he smiled and said that he was the co-owner, alongside with his brother. Nice to meet you Amilcar! They’ve been open for a couple of months now at the downtown location and hoping it will do just as well as their first location. I sure hope so! I’m already signed up to be a regular here!
Joe didn’t listen to my advice and got the “Brain Food”, a salad of spinach, curried avocado aioli, carrots, red peppers, apples, walnuts, and raisins. A salmon fillet topped it all off, although you are able to substitute it with a grilled chicken breast, steak, or tofu. The salad was delicious, the crispy apples and walnuts pairing well with the salmon. What I love most about The Greenhouse is their unique combinations of ingredients! And it also comes in a smaller “Appetizer” size, which was enough for Joe that day.
My salad was hands down better than Joe’s. Their signature “You Jerk” salad: spinach, coconut lime vinaigrette, mangoes, carrots, cranberries, coconut and feta cheese, complete with a grilled jerk chicken breast. If you don’t know what jerk chicken is, a little part of me just died inside. Jamaican jerk spice is a complex mixture of spices, creating both heat and flavor, all intermingling together to make one of the best dry rubs ever. And The Greenhouse’s jerk spice rub is absolutely fantastic. The salads are freshly prepared, ingredients cut and chicken grilled to order. The heat of the spice is counteracted with bites of sweet mango pieces, cranberries, and richness of the feta cheese. Oh my goodness, I cannot stress this enough. Best. Salad. Ever.
One week has passed since our first visit, and we’ve already returned for seconds. Can you guess what Joe ordered this time around? That’s right. The “You Jerk”. This time Amilcar wasn’t around to make our meal, and the fellow behind the counter slightly overcooked my chicken which was a shame. Flavor still there, but moist chicken is also a key! I’m sure I’ve tried the other salads in the past, I must have… but I can’t recall anything from my university days except for wolfing down the food just to get back to the books. The “You Jerk” though, is definitely hard to forget. The Greenhouse will, no doubt in my mind, become a regular lunch spot for Joe and I, especially when we’re in the need for some greens. They also serve pasta and rice bowls, wraps, soups, and yogurt. Most appetizer salads run at ~$10; entrée salads at ~$14. Combo meals are also available. Go try it out, especially if you work in the downtown area and are in need for something quick!The Greenhouse
10119 101 St