Not that I expect a chain such as this to have fabulous food, but I have never had such disgusting salads in my entire life than when I went to Panera yesterday for lunch.
I ordered the Asian Chicken Salad, which advertised its dressing as being "low sugar." It was about a half-a-head of iceberg lettus DRENCHED in this super sweet syrupy dressing - but it had this horrible aftertaste. Basically it was liquid Equal on crack, and it covered every single morsel of the salad. Even the "crispy fried wonton" strips were limp, and the chicken itself looked syrup-logged and freakishly white.
I immediately sent it back (does anyone who work there actually try these things before sending it out??) and ordered a plain green salad with grilled chicken and a side of balsamic dressing. What I got was the Ceasar Salad with chicken. I was too hungry to argue so I took it, and again, a total disaster: Soaking-wet greens, oily croutons and a ton of mayonnaise-y dressing that had no flavor. I gave up and tossed it before calling it a day.
How hard is it to make a damn salad? If bread is the only thing you can do well, then stick to it.
Side note: Luckily I went to Japon Bistro for dinner last night, and between the melt-in-your-mouth Kobe beef sushi, the crispy Japanese calamari salad and the silky-smooth salmon sushi, I lost all memory of the horrid lunch at Panera...
That is until I saw an ad for it just now - ugh!