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).Before 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.Now, 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.Panera 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.
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
Calories: 640, Fat: 31g, Cholesterol: 305mg, Sodium: 930 mg, Carbs: 48g, Protein 41g