Healthy Morsels from Heal: Posted March 19,2014 “Local Healthy Dining”
THE RHUBARB HOUSE, Hagerstown, MD
Amidst our city’s historic center square resides a quiet staple serving consistently delicious American fare. The Rhubarb House has long been known as the go-to spot in downtown Hagerstown for meet-ups and business power lunches. It’s a spot well suited for anyone: from the stay-at-home mother and child, to the suit clad businessperson. The relaxed sophistication of natural wicker, seasonal botanicals, and oversized accessories creates a comforting environment; the perfect spot for enjoying an extended lunch hour.
My mission there was simple. To find a healthful and delicious lunch option that would satisfy not only my nutrition requirements, but my palate as well. And with such a large variety of healthful options clambering for my attention, it was difficult to narrow the choice to just one.
I settled on the spinach salad served fresh with grilled chicken, strawberries, pecans, and a champagne vinaigrette. In an effort to make the dish slightly more nutritious, we decided to omit the cheddar cheese typically served on top. My dining companion chose the flank steak sandwich on herbed multigrain focaccia with caramelized onions, roasted red peppers, and smoked mozzarella and opted for fresh fruit on the side.
The salad was a perfect harmony of balanced flavors; succulent sweet strawberries with a perfectly grilled chicken breast that almost tasted blackened. The champagne vinaigrette had just the right amount of acidity to offset the sweetness of the strawberries and give the salad a nice zing. While the pecans provided a nice textural crunch, I would have preferred for them to be lightly toasted. The spinach worked well as a bed for all the ingredients, and held up well to the bright
flavors. It was a healthy and fresh lunchtime offering, and the portion size was generous enough to allow you to leave feeling full, but not overstuffed.
My dining partner’s smoky and savory sandwich was a perfect contrast to my bright salad. Starting with a piece of perfectly seared and crusted flank steak, it was accompanied by a healthy heaping of roasted red peppers, onions, mushrooms, and smoked mozzarella. The fire-roasted red peppers added a tangy, vinegary component to the sandwich, which paired quite well with the sweetness of the caramelized onions and mushrooms, and added a nice soft texture that counterbalanced the flank steak and grilled bread. The mozzarella added a depth of smoky flavor, giving it an almost “bacon-like” taste. Last but certainly not least, I must also mention the grilled multigrain herbed focaccia, which not only added a punch of healthy whole grains, but also did its part in adding another level of complex flavor to this already satisfying sandwich.
The Rhubarb House is able to put together a year round menu that is healthy and flavorful by utilizing high quality, local, and seasonal ingredients. The owners take pride in their restaurant and food, and this attention to detail shines through in their dishes. I encourage you to give the restaurant a try next time you are in downtown Hagerstown.
The Rhubarb House is open Monday through Friday from 11:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and Friday and Saturday evenings from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Visit www.rhubarbhouse.com for more info.
To out more about HEAL of Washington County and their programs, please visit them online, or call (301) 991-0899.
Meet the Author:
Hannah Ghattas is the author and creator of the lifestyle and food based blog fourcoursefamily.com. She is a wife, a mother of two deliciously adorable children, and a lover of all things food and cooking. Her passion in life is bringing family and friends together to enjoy each other’s company and sample delicious recipes. She finds cooking inspiration in all aspects of her life: from our local Maryland farms, to her favorite restaurants, travel adventures, and close friends. She created Four Course Family as a means of bringing together a great resource of successful homemade meals, recommendations, and tips for life and parenting.
Nutritionist Tips provided by:
Lisa McCoy, RDN
FCS Extension Educator – Healthy Living
University of Maryland Extension