Fast Times

Becks Prime Is Famous for Its Tuna, Right?

Every Saturday morning, my husband and I go to Urban Harvest Farmers Market and pick up all the veggies, bread and treats that catch our eye. Our last stop of the morning at the market is usually the Airline Seafood booth, where we pick up shrimp, plus a piece of fish like snapper or tuna.

Two weeks ago the fish was tuna, and with it my husband made a salad that blew me away. Salads don't tend to blow me away, but I've been thinking about it ever since. And it was the memory of this tuna steak salad that led me to...Becks Prime. That's right! I said Becks Prime.

And get this -- I've never even had a Becks Prime burger! This was my first-ever trip to Becks, so maybe a salad with ahi tuna is a rookie mistake, but I was trying to scratch an itch. Becks lets you add ahi tuna ($4.45) or grilled chicken ($3.45) to any of the salads on their menu. I liked the look of the Queen of Hearts salad ($8.45) and tacked on some seared ahi, hoping for the best.

I will acknowledge that a $15 salad at the drive-through is pricey. More than pricey, even; it borders on extravagant. That said, I had a true craving, and given the size of this salad -- more than enough for two -- the value is good. My husband and I split the salad, and there were greens and veggies to spare. (No tuna, of course -- we crushed that.)

The Queen of Hearts salad is a Romaine and spring mix blend of greens, dotted with hearts of palm, artichoke hearts, bell peppers, green olives, cherry tomatoes and hard-boiled eggs, and comes with a very basic vinaigrette on the side. The portion of ahi tuna is generous -- I would guess five ounces -- and comes nicely seared on each side while perfectly pink in the middle.

Now we all know this salad isn't going to come close to a piece of fresh, Gulf-caught fish purchased at the farmers' market and cooked just hours later. But Becks Prime does an excellent job and this is quite a treat, from a fast-food perspective. While the fish was slightly underseasoned, I did enjoy the excellent medium-rare cook and the rich array of vegetables in the salad. Fast-food salads can be pretty anemic (So. Much. Iceberg. Lettuce.), but Becks Prime packs the bowl with dark, leafy, nutrient-rich greens and fresh veggies. The big, juicy green olives added a nice touch of bitter saltiness. And while yes, $15 is expensive, I have to reiterate how giant this salad was -- it's easily two full servings, especially when you add the protein.

As with most fast-food salads, there are pitfalls. The salad on its own is a sodium bomb at 1266 mg, and packs 35 grams of fat and 187 mg of cholesterol (skip the egg to cut back on both of these things). Go light on the dressing to mitigate sodium and fat even further; using your own dressing or just some lemon juice is another option. But the salad -- with ahi tuna -- comes in at just under 600 calories and packs a whopping 50 grams of protein. Better than a burger? That's your call -- I haven't had one yet, remember?

Nutrition Info: Queen of Hearts Salad 423 calories, 12 g protein, 22 g carbs, 35 g fat, 187 mg cholesterol, 1266 mg sodium

Adding Ahi tuna: 175 calories, 38 g protein, 0 carbs, 1.5 g fat, 73 mg cholesterol, 60 mg sodium

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Christina Uticone