New American’s Take-Out Cuisine
New American, a just-opened take-out eatery in the former Mextiza space on North Killingsworth, tries to answer one of America’s great food paradoxes: can great slow food also be fast food? New American’s owners, Aaron and Faith Dionne, both alums of the iconic Higgins downtown, have couched their entire identity on this question (a Venn diagram on the wall shows “slow food,” “convenience,” and “technology,” overlapping “New American” at the center.)
Here’s how it works: place an order via phablet or computer, swap in gluten-free or vegan options, pay, and voila! Your locally sourced, handcrafted feast is ready in 12 minutes. It’s easier than ordering Domino’s online…hypothetically (the site is expected to launch in the next few weeks.)
It’s a good thing New American’s system is so streamlined, because the “dine-in” space, a featureless landscape of earth tones with a large, digital menu screen, has the ambiance of a high school cafeteria. A small retail section near the checkout counter holds goodies from Faith Dionne’s much-loved chocolate brand, Bees & Beans.
Early tastes are hit-or-miss. Juicy, beautifully bronzed chicken roasted over a churrasco grill is a major winner, as is the mac and cheese, with oversized twirls of pasta cloaked in a thick, spice-heavy cheese sauce. But the sorrel chimichurri, one of five mix-and-match sauces, is overly sweet and acidic, the Juicy Lucy (a cheese-stuffed mini-burger), is cooked to a grayish well-done, and cloyingly sweet coconut cake holds dry, crumbly layers inside. Portions, sized for one or four people, are still in flux, ranging from generous to comically petit.
The bottom line: The concept is ambitious, the farm-to-table ethos admirable, but is it really any more convenient than picking up dinner from the New Seasons buffet line?
2103 N Killingsworth St
Wed-Sun, 5 to 9 pm
Fri-Sat, 5-10 pm