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Anything Worth Eating at Cosi?

This chain opened its first outpost in my area 6 months ago (replacing a veritable institution that couldn't afford the rent increase), and I've tried it twice--once for a forgettable sandwich, and the second time for a wretched pizza, in both cases rather expensive. But they seem to be proliferating everywhere, so maybe I'm just not focusing on their strengths, which would be??????

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  1. When we are on the road, we have stopped at a Ct branch, and I have enjoyed a salad that includes blue cheese, nuts, pears, dried cranberries, and mixed lettuces. It's served with better than average bread, and they serve excellent iced tea year around.

    1 Reply
    1. re: veggielover

      The signature salad! I love it. Great mix of flavors and textures. Everything else is eh.

    2. ugh i HATE cosi. The only things there that are semi decent are their salads. The sandwiches are terrible because they offer no other kind of bread except for their cosi bread which is super fattening. Nothing there tastes fresh either.

      1. Cosi isn't that bad, expensive, but not bad. I really like their salad. I was addicted to their Signature salad for a while. I tend to stay away from their sandwiches because the bread is so fattening. (I do indulge in their bread samples though). In DC & Philly they have make your own smores which I thought was cute. I don't have that at the one I go to in NJ.

        1. I liked their Tandori Chicken sandwich alright. I agree that it is a little expensive but it'll do in a pinch.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Faraway11

            I believe they call it the "Bombay Chicken Sandwich".

            The "Bombay Chicken Salad" is not bad either and since it comes with a bread, I eat part of the salad and then make a sandwich with the chicken and left over lettuce. 2 meals for the price of 1 ;-)

          2. When I go to Cosi, I just build my own sandwich: Cosi bread, roast beef, caramelized onions, lettuce, onions, tomato and some mayo. I think it's yummy! I specially love the bread.

            BTW, the bread is 265 calories and 3 grams of fat, I dont' think that's super fattening, maybe a little more calories than 2 slices of bread, but it's def tastier.

              1. I love my Cosi frequent buyer card, buy 10 salads or sandwiches get one free. I really wish the NJ one would get the s'mores....

                1. I had Smore's for dessert when I was in DC last month.
                  but, we dont have Cosi in So Cal.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: SRosie

                    There is one in Sacramento and one in Temecula. It's a franchise, so that explains the variance in quality and availability of products described here. I have been seeing ads for it on San Diego Cox Cable in the last few weeks.

                    1. re: SRosie

                      Costa Mesa opened a while back..I'm trying tonite.

                    2. Cosi has an OK menu - the location near The Mall, Washington DC (7th Street?) rude, rude... but other locations have been OK

                      1. I used to frequent the Cosi in Old Town Alexandria when I worked there. Like someone else mentioned, I think the focus on fat in the bread is a bit obsessive-compulsive. It's not that outrageous in fat content and the bread is tasty - not to mention incredibly flat. One of the few takeout sandwiches one can actually fit in your mouth.

                        The stuff that went into the sandwiches - there were things served at Cosi that you wouldn't find elsewhere. It was faster service for a 1/2 hour lunch than most places could offer. The alternative for speed was a belly buster at Chipotle (or worse, McD's).

                        The coffee and pastries, not so much.

                        As you can tell by my CH sobriquet, I make panini where I work. And there's probably a little bit of Cosi in what I do daily.

                        1. Cosi's veggie muffaletta is pretty good - love the olive salad!

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: lizrdkng67

                            I like that sandwich but even with a coupon it's just too expensive. You'd have to eat a ton of bread samples to even things out!

                          2. I really like the signature salad.

                            1. I go to Cosi in Arlington, VA about once a week. I love the signature salad but prefer the reduced-fat sherry shallot vinaigrette to the full-fat version. I like their chocolate chunk cookies as well. What I don't recommend are their "squagels"--square bagels. I found them to be horribly bland. The eggs that went on top of the bagel was pretty bad too.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: valree

                                i agree... the salad is pretty good.

                                1. re: abbefaith

                                  Not a fan at all - I don't really like their food and I find them to be incredibly expensive and have some of the rudest staff in the food service industry (I'm in the DC area). On the off times that I end up there, I like to get their kid's grilled cheese sandwich. Basically, it's their yummy bread with cheddar cheese run through the toaster. Of course, since you're ordering the kids menu item and not a kid, it is served with "extra attitude" on the side by the rude staff. But, I ignore that and try to enjoy the sandwich. Oh - the chips are good.

                                  1. re: DC Gal

                                    DC Gal, I agree with you about the service. I was never impressed and never understood why the lines were always so long. Near my old office in DC, I preferred to go to Potbelly or the burrito vendors on K.

                                2. re: valree

                                  We were visiting from California and stopped at the Arlington Cosi's for dinner our first night. My wife and sister had salads, which they said were good, and I had a sandwich (can't even remember what kind now) that was decent, and the bread was good. The service was slow and not all that friendly, though. And they were out of chips.. how can a place be out of chips?

                                3. I find the way they dice chicken into little cubes strangely unappetizing, it has a processed look and looks a bit like pet food for people. Plus, it's just overpriced. I can't account for it's ubiquity. I've ordered that tandoori chicken but find it strange they don't have a tahini sauce to go with it.

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: wontonton

                                    I hate to break this to you, but I had a friend who worked at Cosi during college. She said that EVERYTHING came shipped to them in clear plastic bags, including that diced up chicken. I've actually seen employees open up those bags and fill the front counter with the ingredients and with the soup. That food there has so many preservatives and it's so overpriced for what you get.

                                    1. re: Jacey

                                      Oh, I can believe it. The guy working the bread oven gives the place the illusion of freshness and an excuse to inflate prices. But compared to a real restaurant it's kind of backwards. Why not cook the chicken fresh on site and ship the bread? Whatever.

                                    2. re: wontonton

                                      "I've order that tandoori chicken but find it strange they don't have a tahini sauce to go with it."

                                      I must be missing something... I've seen tandoor bread offered with tahini and even once some tandoor-cooked chick peas mixed into a hummous, but never a tahini with tandoor chicken. Most often, whether in No. America, ANZ or England, I've been served some kind of pickle or raita accompaniment with tandoor meats or fowl.

                                      So why is it "strange" that there was no tahini? Just asking... am I missing some new fusion fad or are you referring to a more Western (Egyptian/Syrian) style of tandoor/clay oven cooking?

                                      1. re: Panini Guy

                                        Yeah, Tahini is not native to India and therefore does not accompany traditional tandoori dishes. Having said that, nobody in their right mind should go to Cosi's for traditional tandoor fare.

                                        The tahini dressing is what they serve with their "Bombay Chicken Salad".

                                    3. Cosi is a chain originated from NYC (I miss the original WTC location), so am not sure if elsewhere in the country the quality is bad, but I lOVE their sandwiches. My favorites are (in no particular order) Tuscan Chicken, Wasabi Roast Beef and Tuna cheddar. If you're extra hungry Italiano is good too. Except for Tuna salad sanwiches, they key ingredient is their balsamic dressing which they put on salads and sandwiches. Some stores in NY don't put it so you have to specifically ask for it. Price-wise, I usually eat half a sandwich for lunch.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: welle

                                        Cosi is definitely overpriced, but their bread is really really good. In fact, on more than one occassion, I bought the bread as an extra for a couple bucks.

                                        The hummus and veggie sandwich is quite tasty.

                                      2. I had the Morroccan Lentil soup once and enjoyed it.

                                        1. If you're inclined to try again (although maybe it's just not for you) try building your own sandwich or salad that way you get what you want. I'm the type of person who doesn't usually doesn't like the sandwich or salads that the restaurant plans, I like to pick my own ingredients.

                                          I liked Cosi fine when I lived back east, and usually eat at one when I have to go back there for work (they don't have them in LA.) I don't think it's especially expensive (except for the drinks), and I like the fresh bread. (News flash, 265 isn't a lot of calories for the bread part of a sandwich, a slice of regular bread has about 120 calories, so we're talking 240 for a sandwich.) Honestly though, I doubt you'll find something that will be as good as the "institution" it replaced, it's just a chain sandwich place, and won't have the same appeal.

                                          I think the only Cosi's that have s'mores are the ones that started life as XandO restaurants. They got bought out by Cosi about seven years ago.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: writergirl

                                            I LOVE the s'mores. Definitely my fave.

                                          2. Has anyone tried those new dinner entrees they have?

                                            1. Yes, they seem to be proliferating in New Jersey suburbia/mall country now, too. This was previously dominated by Panera. Now Cosi seemingly starts to get into the race. Previously, I knew them more as an urban sandwich place in Manhatten. I'm not sure what their competitive value proposition for suburbia.
                                              IMHO, it is an ok but overpriced sandwich/salad place. The food is ok, but nothing special. The selection of breads is very limited. The salads are ok. Pizza is basic, too chewy crust and far too expensive compared to much better pizzas you can get in your neighborhood italian place most everywhere in NJ. The good thing (at least for the one in Westfield, NJ) is they allow BYOB and have decent wine glasses for you. Panera does not allow BYOB. So Cosi is an option for a dinner with wine.
                                              Breakfast sandwich, where you can select your ingredients are actually not bad. The square bagels are a gimmick. The special with coffee is reasonable priced (although I had to argue the last time to have the special price apply for my wife who wanted tea instead of coffee) and certainly better than McD or BK for breakfast. However, if you happen to be in Manhatten you get a really oustanding breakfast sandwich with coffee for $3.95 at starwich.

                                              1. I've never been there or even seen one, but for David Cross fans I have to ask:

                                                WHAT'S FOR BREAKFAST AT COSI?!?!

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: John Manzo

                                                  John, thanks for sharing. I hadn't seen the video before. This is hillarious.

                                                2. We had one in the town near me that lasted for about 4 months. I looked over the menu.... not cheap..... and heard some people say they did not like it. One co-worker did. I never got the chance to try it.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: libgirl2

                                                    As a rule, I don't like Cosi. Every once in a while I will get outvoted at work and end up eating an overpriced, underflavored sandwich. Two items I do like are the S'mores and the Orange Cranberry Scone/Muffin.

                                                  2. Anybody try their new Maine Lobster sandwich?

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: JoLi

                                                      WELL hi, this is ironic, I just posted about the Maine Lobster sandwich on the midwest
                                                      board, then saw it got deleted and found out it was moved to this board. I liked the
                                                      sandwich a lot, had actual chunks of lobster , a nice light mayo-based dressing, some
                                                      good lettuce, and that yummy bread.

                                                    2. The company I used to work for in Boston often ordered Cosi for catered business meeting lunches. The sandwiches were ok to good....but my favorite part was collecting the wooden trays/crates/baskets (looked like a combination of the 3) they sent the sandwiches in...now it's 7 yrs later...I haven't had one of their sandwiches since...but I still use the trays for varied purposes around the house. LOL

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: vermontpoet

                                                        Were we separated at birth?! The company I worked for in NYC ordered from Cosi all the time and I always grabbed the wooden trays afterwards. In fact, people I worked with would troll conference rooms on other floors, snatch up the trays and leave them in my cubicle.

                                                        Simple minds...simple pleasures... :)

                                                      2. There is a Cosi in my building at work, and since I eat quick lunches, I often go there. I especially like the Cosi Cobb salad and the Wasabi Beef Sandwich. But today I checked the nutrition info on their website and was appalled. The salad, with dressing, and the piece of bread it comes with, clock in at about 1000 calories. I find this very depressing and think it should be illegal... Some of the new pizzas have 1300 calories or more, for what sounds like pizza for one person. I'm going to try some of their lower calorie dishes, but this has all soured me on the place. Not that I thought it was low cal, but I didn't think my regular lunch was 1000 calories. Sigh.

                                                        1. Been wanting to check this place out since I spotted my first one in Southern CA. My yoga partner swears by the smores. Can't wait.

                                                          1. Not the best sandwich place, but my wife likes it...what can I say...

                                                            So I usually get:
                                                            1. Bombay Chicken Salad (you can make 2 meals - the salad and a sandwich from the bread they give you)
                                                            2. Bombay Chicken Sandwich (if I am not in the mood for some lettuce)
                                                            3. Wasabi Beef (thinly sliced roast beef, pickled ginger like you get with sushi and wasabi mayo dressing. Dont let this sit too long, or it will get soggy)

                                                            1. I'm the one who started this thread,so I thought I'd report back. I've tried a few more times, and still found nothing worth eating. Everything has a pre-made, "dead" flavor. Stuff is over-chilled. I can get better sandwiches at many places around town, and I just can't get that excited about the bread. Now a second Cosi has opened in town, in our mall, which I think is a better location for this type of operation. (The original one is in a strip center, is very large, and usually mostly empty.) My town is being overrun with chain restaurants and it's just depressing overall, as the standards for what constitutes good food just get set lower and lower.

                                                              1. i worked for Cosi in New Haven, CT when it was still Xando. it bought out Cosi and changed its name.Either way, the food was pretty much the same. Simpler. Less clutter on the menu. Awesome place to work. Fantastic boss!!! I pretty much lived on the XO salad (the now Signature Salad), and now, almost 10 yrs later I just found out the fat content! Wow! Glad I dont eat it on a daily basis anymore, :)

                                                                1. everything used to be made from scratch. then once the name changed i started saying the wrong thing when i answered the phone and all the food started coming in packages and 5 gallon buckets. when it was xando we roasted the chicken in the pizza oven and made the salad dressings by hand (roasting the garlic and shallots in the oven too) such a fun time in my life!

                                                                  1. I used to eat at Cosi frequently when I worked in NYC. I always got the smoked salmon with Cosi's herbed cream cheese, scallions and Balsalmic Dressing, which was to die for. This was before they heavily expanded however, so I can only attest to the NYC locations of a few years ago.