Vox reviews Hilltoss: They tossed, we came, everybody saw
Aren’t we just a bunch of tossers? The Vox staff went on a group outing to The Hilltoss, the Corp’s new salad-tossing Mecca. Overall, it’s a pleasant surprise and makes a great addition to the existing on-campus dining options.
Hilltoss’ interior is well-decorated with simple wood counters and metallic chairs and stools. And, unlike the nearby Bulldog Tavern, Hilltoss fits in with the rest of the Healey Family Student Center, giving a comfortable sense of enclosure.
The food quality is absurdly good, considering this is the Corp. If Corp coffee is a McDonald’s Big Mac then (most) Hilltoss salads are the porterhouse steak. The lettuce and kale were fresh and crisp and are a great change from the vomit-inducing salad that’s served on the Leo’s lower level.
Salad options are diverse, with each salad offering its own unique flavor. There’s a lot to choose from, and a build-your-own-salad option means you can mix and match the various dressings and toppings.
Hilltoss does have some negatives, however, which did take away from the experience. The line took way too long, especially considering where Vox was for most of it. In addition to there not being enough people working on the assembly line, this is clearly the first time a Corpie has ever had to do actual work, and it shows. They also ran out of a lot of items, but Vox did go an hour before closing, so that’s more understandable.
All of these problems, however, are clearly attributable to this being the store’s first week open. Inventory and staff problems will be adjusted as time goes on.
Here were the salads that each Vox staff member chose, with their accompanying reviews:
Although the store ran out of the grilled chicken, cherry tomatoes and feta cheese, the Liberty Cobb had a great combination of ingredients. The substitute mozzarella cheese cubes were fresh and tangy and there was just the right amount of bacon bits. There was also plenty of avocado and egg to go around to make a real hearty salad. The complimentary focaccia that goes on top of your salad is much softer and definitely has more flavor than your hard, dry Sweetgreen counterpart. The Italian vinaigrette was good but the half-lemon on top was a real letdown—way too acidic and overpowering. The lemon on the salad drowned the leafy greens and left an awkward puddle of sour liquid on the bottom of the plastic bowl. — Kenneth Lee
Robust flavor, a great mix of vegetables, and chicken make this one of the most attractive items on the Hilltoss menu. The creamy asiago peppercorn dressing perfectly coated the entire salad and complemented the croutons and chicken equally well. The chicken itself was cut into just the right size, allowing pieces of it to be mixed with the tomatoes, croutons, and cheese. And they include really good bread, too, which helps take the bite out of how acidic the salad can get, which is Vox‘s only complaint. The half-lemon they squeeze into the salad is just a bit too tangy. — Ryan Greene
Earlier this year, when Vox heard that Hilltoss was opening to make salads for the masses she got excited. Vox grew up in a household where greens were often preferred to carbs and has a gluten allergy that seems to dominate a lot of daily dietary options. With the exception of the lack of goat cheese (total bummer) Vox thought the Jay Gatsby was a decent salad. Vox is not certain it was enough food to be worth the ten dollars she paid but definitely a nice treat away from the options at Leo’s.
Unfortunately, Vox was hit with bites of increasing tongue-shock. After asking for “light” dressing Vox found that her definition may have been a little different from the chef’s. By the last layers of lettuce the salad was in a pool of lemon juice and blush vinaigrette, enough to produce tears in my eyes—not for sadness but for the tang, though Vox mourned a little since she was unable to finish her meal. — Morgan Hines
Vox didn’t get to try what the Amalfi Coast ($8.50) was supposed to taste like because by 7 p.m. The Hilltoss had run out of quinoa and mozzarella, two of the salad’s main ingredients. If you manage to actually receive an Amalfi Coast, it will include mozzarella, tomatoes, quinoa, “salad greens,” and an olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing. Instead, Vox received an oil slick with misplaced ingredients floating in it—literally. Despite Vox‘s specific request for a light amount of dressing, olive oil coated every item in the bowl and soon pooled into a rapidly-congealing puddle of omega-3-rich lipids.
Due to the aforementioned ingredient constraints, the Corp’s salad-tossers replaced the nonexistent quinoa with dry, tasteless lemon-pepper chicken, alerting Vox to the change during the salad-tossing process. However, they neglected to mention that they had replaced the mozzarella with tofu—so when Vox bit into a dressing-coated white blob, expecting it to taste like bland dairy, it instead tasted like bland soybean curd.
Not cool, Corp. Hang your backwards baseball cap in shame. — James Constant
Despite their startup issues, The Hilltoss is a solid alternative to most of the food options on campus. If you’re stuck between the
greasy cheese bread pizza at Epi and a family-sized bag of Tostitos from Vittles, consider the healthy options at Hilltoss because they’re pretty solid and will only improve from here.
Photo: Kenneth Lee/Georgetown Voice