Review: Shrimp Salad Roll from Panera Bread

I have a number of food allergies, but oddly enough, some of the more common ones, I’m glad to say, have avoided me.  On the top of that list is shrimp.  I love shrimp and I’d hate to have to do without.  When the opportunity arose to review Panera Bread’s Shrimp Salad Roll came up, I jumped at the chance.  It seemed like the perfect way to kick off the summer (yes, it’s finally begun here in MN).SONY DSCBefore I give you my impressions on the sandwich, let’s discus a few terms.  Firstly, I’d like you to explore what constitutes a “salad”.  I would say that once you don’t have lettuce, you’re left with things like, egg salad, potato salad and tuna salad, all of which contain mayonnaise.  I suppose you might also make a case for pasta salad or cucumber salad which usually contain oil or vinegar or some type of dressing.  Next, let’s think about the use of the word “summer” as an adjective, with special consideration for its use in the food industry.  In short, it usually implies that the item is something you’d like to eat in the summer.  Something light and fresh, not heavy and warming.  Finally, the word “roll” is pretty straightforward.  A dinner roll, a kaiser roll and the like; a small, loaf-like piece of bread sometimes eaten as a stand-alone side, sometimes as a stand-in for a bun or sandwich bread.SONY DSCNow, having explored all of these definitions, there should be no reason for confusion.  However, what I was handed, wasn’t what I was expecting.  For whatever reason I had envisioned, based on the title of this offering, a mixture of shrimp (I was assuming diced), veggies (like celery and carrots) and maybe even some small noodles, all mixed with a tangy mayonnaise base, served as some sort of wrap.  I’m not sure why I felt the need to break this down into its elemental parts except to impart to you what exactly it is that you are ordering if you decide to give this a try.  I am one of those people, to whom it is important, that a meal delivers on its expectations, even if those might be my own misguided ones.  It’s like when a catcher calls for a fastball, and the pitcher throws a curve.  Even if the curve is a good pitch, the catcher may not appreciate the unexpectedness of it.  I guess what I’m finally here to say is that you can enjoy this sandwich if you know what to expect.SONY DSCPanera has constructed a sandwich served on a fancified hotdog-bun-like roll, with whole shrimp, spun in a mayonnaise based sauce, and chunks of avocado on a leaf of fresh lettuce wedged into the bun.  The shrimp was plentiful, firm and tasty.  The sauce was light and not overbearing, pairing well with the sprinkling of Old Bay Seasoning and basil adorning the top.  All of this made for a delightful, fresh taste and a sandwich worth having again, especially now that I know what to expect.  My only complaint is that the sandwich is somewhat one-dimensional.  I think the addition of some chopped veggies or coleslaw-like cabbage to the shrimp “salad” would round this out a bit.  Although, the “meal deal” adds another element with your choice of soup or salad, so for me, the corn chowder helped vary the tastes as I went along.  The avocado I found to be unnecessary and felt a bit like the obligatory superfood add-in.

Pros: Nice light, fresh taste; high quality shrimp; soft roll.

Cons: One dimensional; a bit pricy.

Taste: 8.50/10
Value: 6.00/10
Grubbing on-the-go: 6.00/10
Price: $10.49 with 1/2 bowl of soup and chips (drink extra)

Overall GrubGrade: 8.25/10

More Info: www.panerabread.com
Nutrition Facts:
Calories: 640, Fat: 31g, Cholesterol: 305mg, Sodium: 930 mg, Carbs: 48g, Protein 41g

14 comments on “Review: Shrimp Salad Roll from Panera Bread

  1. Jonathan Wayne says:

    This looks like it would be pretty amazing. The price is not horrible considering what you are getting. I would still prefer a lobster roll though.

  2. Manavee says:

    Honestly, I was disappointed in this sandwich, especially since it breaks the $10 price barrier.

    For me, the real deal killer was the roll. The roll was overly bready. I guess I was expecting something like a New England lobster roll except with shrimp. The roll would have been so much better buttered and toasted; as it stands, it is bready and chewy and distracting.

    I also felt the sandwich seemed undersauced to me. I wanted more of the lemon tarragon mayo sauce that was supposedly in it; it was barely perceptible in my sandwich.

    The clam chowder, on the other hand, was delicious. The soups at Panera are generally quite good and this one didn’t disappoint.

    • Manavee says:

      Oh, and thanks for this review. Maybe you guys could also expand to doing reviews of similar places like Corner Bakery and Cosi?

      The new roast beef and goat cheese sandwich at Corner Bakery is delicious, BTW.

    • Ben says:

      The complaint about the roll is spot on, though the one I got I felt had too much mayo. Granted, I prefer a very light hand with mayo. My biggest complaint was that it was very hard to eat. Shrimp and avocado kept falling out when I would try to take a bite. There are a bunch of slippery ingredients packed into a space too small for them. It would have been much better if the shrimp had been diced. Tasty, but poorly executed.

  3. Jay says:

    That’s a new england style hotdog roll and it’s traditional to serve lobster rolls, clam rolls, etc on that style of bun.

    I really like that tyle because it allows you to toast the outside of the bun which of course is much easier then toasting the inside of a traditional hotdog bun. In my area in TN we can get that bun at Ingles Market.

    Oh, and nice review. I’d eat that sandwich but would prefer lobster or clams.

  4. Robert says:

    Panera’s “fresh” image is geniously calculated. Their soup comes in frozen bags and is essentially microwaved til it’s boiling. And when they can get people to pay $10 for lunchmeat, you know you’re doing something right.

    This actually looks quite good, but it sounds like it needs more toppings. Confused there’s no pickles/onions to give it some vinegar-y kick.

    • Ralph says:

      There aren’t many soups that are made completely to-order in restaurants these days, though. For the most part, when you order soup in restaurants, it’s made earlier in the day, refrigerated (or, unfortunately, in some cases already frozen), and reheated on the stove with only small additions, if any.

      At least that’s what I’m hearing. I’ve been out of restaurant kitchens for a few years now. For some soups, that’s just what you have to do, but if you’re doing that to something like a tomato or broccoli soup, then it’s lazy.

      • Jonathan Wayne says:

        There is an amazing soup restaurant/local franchise in my area and they only do soups and they are all freshly done everyday, so it can be done.

  5. Alex K. says:

    HOW is that little thing 640 calories? Are there five tablespoons of lard on the bread? Wow.

  6. Kei says:

    Had this today for the first time w/ a side of broc chedder soup. As for the sandwhich, I didnt really like it, most because it was messy. It would have been better if they used less old bay seasoning and diced the shrimp. It was OK.. But i wouldnt purchase it again. I am sticking to my regular, tuna sandwhich w/ broc cheddar soup.

  7. Diana says:

    Very disappointing! Ordered from the Las Colinas, TX store. Sauce was imperceptible – did not taste lemon or tarragon – just bland! This should be one of their easiest recipes to make light & flavorful. I received shrimp on a hot dog bun with lettuce. Won’t order again.

  8. Josi says:

    You know – I think sometimes the saying, “less is more”, is a saying for a reason. Agree on so many points here. The bun, though tasty, was too thick, chewy and didn’t hold the filling well at all. The lettuce choice was fine and the shrimp were perfectly cooked and firm. The avocado? Could have skipped it. It added gumminess to an already chewy experience and the flavor added nothing to the overall sandwich.

    I could have imagined something like celery and onion mixed with the shrimp and a VERY light hand on the mayo, mixed with lemon, fresh tarragon and pepper. It went way past what it needed to be.

  9. Marlo Stanfield says:

    Just like Kei, I had this a couple of weeks ago with a side of the soup. I was annoyed at the overall size and messiness of the sandwich. I got 5 ok-sized shrimp out of it, along with about a half a smashed avocado. I was in a meeting with a colleague and didn’t want to make a mess, so I ate it with a knife and fork… yes it messy but flavorwise I thought it was good, though I would definitely like a larger portion.

    Yes, breaking the $10 barrier for something like this makes me rethink Panera… I’m going to need to hustle some more corners to have the cash to pay for this sandwich!

  10. Julie says:

    I agree totally with your expectations of what you ordered. I got this through the drive-thru and tried to eat quickly on my way back to work (not driving). There would have been some really great (or really disgusting)video of me trying to eat this and getting it shoved up my nose a few times. Again, agree, these are some of my favorite foods: nice, big shrimp, spinach, and avocado…but it just didn’t work. Chop it up and try again!

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