FreshDirect, knowing full well that there’s no prepared food we won’t taste-test, sent us the latest line of celebrity-chef meals, from Tabla’s Floyd Cardoz. The last time a line of these “four-minute meals” came out, from Picholine’s Terrance Brennan, we taste-tested it, and the Undisputed King of Cheeses came out a little battered by our crack panel of tasters. So we’ve reassembled them to try five FreshDirect entrées: pork-rib vindaloo, tamarind-glazed salmon, chickpea masala, Goan shrimp-and-chile fry, and black-pepper-braised lamb shank. So, at between $10 and $12 each, are they worth it? Here are the results.
The panel was unanimous in liking the chickpeas and lamb best. While the latter was praised as “meaty and lamby,” “not too spicy!,” and “worth eating even if you had to pay for it,” the chickpeas earned the single highest praise of the panel: “It seems like what I tasted at Tabla.” Some of the other entrées weren’t so lucky, however. The best that was said of the salmon was that “it’s not too fishy,” the shrimp were “bland and washed out,” and of the pork-rib vindaloo, the less said the better. It was “overwhelmingly vinegary,” “bony,” and “gross,” with as little meat on it as a Milan runway show. All in all, though, the panel was impressed with the meals. “They look like restaurant food, anyway,” one taster said. “If you put it in front of your girlfriend, she might be fooled. Some of it actually tastes pretty good.”