published Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

Review: Loading up the plate at Greenlife's hot bar

  • photo
    The Greenlife Grocery hot buffet has a selection of ethnic entrees, including Chicken Tikka Masala, Chana Masala, Tofu Tikka Masala and sambosas.
    Photo by Barry Courter /Chattanooga Times Free Press.


• The place: Greenlife Grocery.

• The dishes: Chana Masala, Chicken Tikka Masala, Tofu Tikka Masala, Chipotle Chicken Chowder, sambosa, slice of Green Italian pizza.

• The cost: $19.47.

Have you ever had a group of co-workers or friends disagree over where to go for lunch? One wants pizza and another wants Indian and another wants home-cookin'.

Greenlife's relatively new hot-bar options can remedy the situation.

Three of us loaded up to-go plates the other day and while some of the items were just OK, others were pretty good. The big thing was that we had choices.

We opted to get a variety and share. I loaded a plate with Chana Masala, Chicken Tikka Masala, Tofu Tikka Masala -- masala is a blend of South Asian spices -- and a sambosa, a stuffed pastry that, in this case, was filled with potato, onion and peas. I also got a cup of Chipotle Chicken Chowder.

Another plate was filled with mashed potatoes, steamed green beans, pulled pork and -- just because we could -- another sambosa. Our third choice was a slice of pesto and pepperoni pizza and a slice of artichoke and spinach pizza.

A large salad bar and several soups also are offered, and chefs are constantly making fresh sushi rolls.

The pizza slices were good, though a little dry from sitting under the heat lamps. They do offer to warm them in the oven for you after ordering. The pork was tender with a vinegar flavor. The green beans and potatoes were worth a second visit.

Choosing an ethnic dish from a buffet at a place that doesn't specialize in the cuisine is risky at best. It's safer to go to the source.

The masala dishes were not bad, though the spice mixture tasted like it came from a can. The sambosa were of the frozen, pop-in-the-oven variety. Again, decent, but not great.

You pay for the hot-bar plates at $7.99 per pound. It can add up, but you get to choose what you want and how much. With a little experimentation, it's a good option for a lunch.

Contact Barry Courter at or at 423-757-6354.

about Barry Courter...

Barry Courter is staff reporter and columnist for the Times Free Press. He started his journalism career at the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1987. He covers primarily entertainment and events for ChattanoogaNow, as well as feature stories for the Life section. Born in Lafayette, Ind., Barry has lived in Chattanooga since 1968. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in broadcast journalism. He previously was ...

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