If you work downtown, the odds are good that you buy your lunch once in a while. There’s been a mini-boom of health-forward, salad-focused places in recent years, with names like Green Rebel and Freshii popping up from Bay Street to Elgin Street. Now Mad Radish joins the fray with a menu full of creative and crispy offerings to satisfy your crunchy veggie cravings.
I assume you’ve heard of David’s Tea? Well, the man who started that business, David Segal, sold his stake in the company last year and has joined forces with business partner Stephanie Howarth and chef Nigel Finley to create Mad Radish.
The first two locations opened in July, one in the Glebe and the other in the heart of downtown at Albert and Metcalfe. I visited the downtown location to see what the buzz was like.
This is a large, airy space with high ceilings and tons of windows. The off-white paint, polished concrete floor, and terra cotta wall tiles feel California-inspired, as do the fresh juices flowing in the fountain (carrot, strawberry lemonade, and “Mad Mojito,” a lime-and-mint concoction). If none of those catch your fancy, there’s kombucha, coconut water, and flavoured cold-brew coffee in the chill case.
Get in line—and there was a longish one when I was there—and while you wait, you can decide between the dozen or so salads and warm bowls invented by Chef Finley, or build your own to suit your tastes. All the salads are tossed to order, and you can make substitutions as yours is built. There were two soups available (corn chowder and watermelon gazpacho) as well as mini-loaves of rosemary focaccia bread. The line moved pretty quickly despite the lunchtime rush.
I had the Roast Salmon Kimchi salad, which contained kale, spinach, and shredded cabbage, as well as julienned beet and carrot, sliced cucumber, wakame seaweed, marinated tofu, sesame seeds, and a light miso dressing, topped with a 4-ounce sustainable salmon filet that was served warm. Every vegetable was fresh and crisp, the tofu was awesome (I’m going to need that marinade recipe, Nigel), and the salmon was beautifully cooked and delicious. I did find the dressing lacked zip, and would have loved more than three pieces of kimchi.
Other options include Dill With It (potato, asparagus, and green bean with dill and lemon dressing), Smoky Caesar (smoked mushrooms, chickpeas, cashew parmesan), and a Falafel Salad. There are also protein add-ons (chicken, salmon, tofu, protein patties) to make your bowl more substantial. I also loved the coconut milk soft serve in a waffle cone.
There’s a good amount of seating, most of it at counters facing the windows, with a few tables in the middle of the room. They also have an app for pre-order and a pickup window.
If salad is your lunch of choice, Mad Radish is a fresh new option to add to your list.
Mad Radish currently has two locations: 859 Bank Street at Fifth (open 10:30am to 10pm every day) and 116 Albert Street at Metcalfe (open 10:30am to 10pm every day).