The dish on Long Island's restaurant and food scene.
A recent midday visit to the new Muscle Maker Grill in Huntington Station brought to mind the old Weather Girls song: Its Raining Men. For, other than myself, there was not a female diner to be found in Long Islands newest branch of a national healthy eating chain with other Long Island branches in Amityville, Long Beach and Merrick.
The order-at-the-counter spot is all about lean protein-based eating, with calories provided for every menu item. But, if you took away the guy-geared name of the place, it could easily pass for one of those ladies (on a diet)-who-lunch cafes where commercial fat-free products rule, and very little is made from scratch.
My MM signature wrap ($8.79) featured a jalapeno tortilla stuffed with grilled chicken, turkey bacon, reduced-fat Cheddar, romaine, tomatoes and red onion and a zero carb sauce that had either been left out or was too flavorless to perceive. On the plus side, the grilled chicken pieces had a pleasant char and were not the least bit dry. Still, I was not a fan of the artificial smokiness that imbued the turkey bacon. And the pungency of raw red onion predominated in every bite. Calorie count? 550. Worth it? Not for me. Best was my gratis side dish, a very good baked potato (142 calories).
Maybe its a gender thing, because my male lunch date was quite pleased with his Cajun chicken and penne pasta ($9.99). It featured chunks of boneless breast, tomato and scallion in a spicy brown wine sauce that, to me, tasted way too salty. Still, the bowlful presented a lot of food for 330 calories.
Muscle Maker Grill is at 195 Walt Whitman Rd., Huntington Station, 631-319-1569, Muscle Maker Grill also is at 80 Merrick Rd., Amityville, 631-464-4277, and 18 E. Park Ave., Long Beach, 516-889-6600, musclemakergrill.com.