Comparing the new Flame Broiler to other rice-bowl joints

Get down with the magic sauce on your Flame Broiler chicken bowl.

A few months ago, Flame Broiler opened its first location in Las Vegas, bringing what it touts as “a healthy choice” in fast food to Las Vegas. Like its rivals Teriyaki Madness and Samurai Sam’s, it specializes in rice bowls with various proteins, a few vegetables and some sauce, with the recent addition of organic char-broiled tofu bolstering its lineup. Those other chains have a relatively broad menu, but Flame Broiler’s is more succinct: chicken, Angus beef or tofu; carrot, cabbage, broccoli or green onion; white or brown rice; fruit; and three sauces.

Flame Broiler is known for is its aptly named magic sauce, basically a sweet soy sauce with a little ginger. What can be a very plain bowl becomes quite delicious with that addition. The restaurant also offers hot sauce and hot, hot sauce, both of which live up to their billing—the hot sauce is made with aged red peppers while the hot, hot sauce combines green chilies and jalapeños. The Vegas franchise recently had a little surprise waiting for patrons to try—hot, hot, hot sauce. And it is.

Since many people lunch at these types of restaurants post-workout, calories play a role. Flame Broiler stacks up well against competitors, according to the nutritional info available on each chain’s website. A regular size chicken and rice bowl has roughly the same calories as Samurai Sam’s while Teriyaki Madness’ bowl has nearly 100 calories more. The fat content is similar in each bowl, around 14 grams, but Flame Broiler’s protein content is significantly higher at 44 grams. (Teriyaki Madness has 31 grams and Sam’s has 37.)

Veggie and rice bowls at Flame Broiler also undercut the others’ calorie content by more than 100. Adding tofu means only about 120 to 140 extra calories, plenty of protein but not much fat. The sauces can add 15 to 60 calories per ounce and quite a bit of sugar, but they really spice up the meal, and a little goes a long way.

Flame Broiler 651 N. Rainbow Blvd. #120, 702-487-6400. Monday-Friday, 10:30 a.m.-8 p.m.; Saturday & Sunday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.

Tags: Dining, Food
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