Eating to Live on the Outside: Tony Roma's

Are you hungry? I am. Let’s take a ride over to Chipotle. No Chipotle nearby? Okay, let’s go to Baja Fresh. No Baja Fresh either? What about P.F. Chang’s? No? Well then, what is close by? Tony Roma’s? What’s that? I’ll tell you what it is—a tough sell for any Eat to Liver! Unless of course you Eat to Live with ribs, steaks, and burgers.

First off, Tony Roma’s is known for their ribs, steak, and seafood—uh, two out of three isn’t bad, right? With that being said, you know right off the bat this place is just another standard American restaurant. Oh goodie! Looks like I’ll be scraping the bottom of the barrel again, but there’s got to be at least a few things a health conscious person might order. Don’t worry, there is—let’s take a look.

No surprise here, but my eyes are quickly drawn to the section of the menu entitled “Soups & Salads.” This isn’t always the case, sometimes restaurants have other menu items that I’d consider ordering—that should help some of you who had concerns about why I don’t always just go straight for the salad. Also, always picking salad seems like the easy way out. Sure salad or the salad bar is usually the best option, but how boring would it be if every week I just said, “I’d go with the salad.” I’m trying to dig a little deeper, and maybe unearth a diamond that maybe buried in a lot of rough—or should I say buried beneath melted cheese, bacon, and grease!

Okay, back to the menu. I like the Chicken Club Salad and Tony’s Asian Salad, but both need significant tweaking. For the Chicken Club Salad I’m ditching the smoked ham, bacon, cheddar cheese, and croutons. I’ll also pass on the egg. I’m okay with the chicken, especially since after you remove all that stuff, you’re really not left with much. Now, for Tony’s Asian Salad I’m chucking the fried won-ton noodles, and I’ll probably top that with salmon—I’m a sucker for seafood! And of course, I’m going very easy on the dressing.

The next couple of dishes I’d order are under “Chicken & Seafod.” Even though I’m fine with eating the occasional chicken, none of the selections sounded too appetizing. So I’m going strictly seafood here, which is a good thing because Tony Roma’s serves Mahi Mahi! Not only do I love Mahi Mahi, but according to OceansAlive.org, Mahi Mahi is an eco best for contamination—makes me feel a lot better about eating it. So, clearly I’m cool with the Grilled Mahi Mahi, the only thing I’m not cool with is the scampi butter. As I’ve said before, me and dairy, like oil and vinegar, so goodbye butter! I’m pretty excited about garlic seared green bananas. I wonder what they taste like? I’d also ask the wait staff if you can order brown rice with this dish, they might already give you that option, but hey, it doesn’t hurt to ask. Oh, oh, Mahi Mahi comes with a dinner salad too—think phytonutrients!

The other fishy dish I like is the Grilled Norwegian Salmon, especially since it comes with garlic seared green beans—I grew up snapping green beans with my grandparents—so I love them! And again, I’d ask the wait staff about the rice. I always go easy on the amount of rice I eat, and when I do eat it, it is almost always brown—no refined stuff for me! Clearly I’m also dropping that pesky scampi butter and I’m not fooling with the honey barbeque sauce, salmon takes good enough on its own. And for all you Eat to Livers keeping score, if I were to eat fish at Tony Roma’s I’d wait a few weeks before I ate it again.

So, despite Tony Roma’s menu being loaded with all that standard American food, there are still a few items an Eat to Liver can feel pretty good about. After months of doing this, I keep thinking, Dr. Fuhrman should open a restaurant: Fuhrman’s, a place to eat, and live!

And as always we want to hear about how you handle eating away from home. Any tips? Check out Tony Roma’s menu and email us at diseaseproof@gmail.com.
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