I Tried Meal Kits from Plated and Here's What I Thought

I Tried Meal Kits from Plated and Here's What I Thought

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Sheela Prakash
Mar 8, 2016
Plated Box 2

Service: Plated
Price: All of the meal kits serve two people at $12 per person. You can choose anywhere from two to seven dinners per week, and shipping is free unless you select just two dinners, in which case shipping is $6. In addition, you can upgrade any dinner to a Chef's Table dinner, which includes specialty cuts of meat and seafood, for additional $2 to $18 per person, per dinner. You can also add dessert to the box for $4 per person, per dessert. The most popular kit is three dinners a week for $72.
Overall impression: I felt that Plated delivered exactly what they claimed they would: well-curated, crowd-pleasing recipes that were convenient and easy to prepare.

(Image credit: Sheela Prakash)

Plated: A Quick Summary

Characteristics and specs: Choose from seven different meat, seafood, and vegetarian dinners and receive all of the ingredients — except for salt, pepper, olive or vegetable oil, and eggs — to make the meal for two. Plated also provides step-by-step cooking instructions printed on recipe cards.

You select your date of delivery each week, and can choose to skip weeks as needed. The box arrives with a large ice pack nestled at the bottom, and the meats placed directly on top of them, so they are extra cold. The remaining ingredients are packed in clear plastic bags and organized by meal.

Plated currently delivers to 95 percent of the United States; it does not deliver to Hawaii, Alaska, and a few cities in Texas.

Favorite details: I was intrigued by the option to add dessert, as many similar services don't offer this, and I definitely have a sweet tooth. The meals were also heartier than I expected and we had leftovers for a couple of them, which was a nice surprise. I enjoyed a few empanadas for lunch the next day and my fiancé turned the last bit of steak into a steak salad for a light solo dinner one evening.

Potential problems: Even though I live in New York City, I did find the cost of the meal kit to be expensive. Particularly on weeknights, when I tend to prepare simple meals at home, I don't feel that I spend $12 a person on dinner ingredients. Yes, it's cheaper than take-out or going to a restaurant, but I could potentially see price point being an issue — especially for those with bigger appetites than ours, as there probably wouldn't be any leftovers with the meals.

Since I am an avid home cook, I didn't have any trouble with recipe instructions, but I could see less-experienced subscribers having difficulty with terms like "minced" and "diced." Even though there were small images, they weren't fully explained. I also worry about a similar problem with storage instructions. I received steak, chicken, and fish, and the latter two arrived frozen, while the first arrived fresh. I knew that meant I'd cook the steak first and keep the chicken and fish frozen until I was ready to defrost them. But better storage and defrosting instructions could benefit customers.

Finally, I did cringe at the amount of packaging in the box. Although Plated makes a note on their website that almost everything is recyclable, and in some cases compostable, I still didn't feel comfortable with it.

Who would love this? This service is really best for those who don't have the time or the energy to think about what's for dinner. While the actual meal preparation didn't necessarily save time, I felt that it was more about the time saved meal planning, going to the grocery store, and getting everything you need for the week. That's really where the convenience lies. Not to mention, it was a nice change not running through the grocery store with everyone else on Sunday.

(Image credit: Sheela Prakash)

My Review of Plated

I tried three meals and one dessert in my Plated delivery: Chicken Empanadas with Roasted Tomatoes, Red Onion, and Green Chile Sauce; Pretzel-Crusted Fish with Lemon Green Beans and Creamy Horseradish Sauce; Skirt Steak with Homemade Steak Sauce and Potatoes (a Chef's Table dinner); and Dark Chocolate Espresso Brownies with Maldon Sea Salt.

All the ingredients arrived nice and fresh, except for one lime that was completely dried out when I tried to squeeze it — luckily I had an extra lemon in the fridge and swapped it in. It was definitely reassuring knowing that I had these delicious-sounding meals laid out for me throughout the week, and I will say that they tasted as good as the photos and recipes made them sound. I found the time they quoted to prepare them to be accurate, and I enjoyed trying recipes that were different than the usual repertoire I rotate through on busy weeknights.

Oddly, though, I did find myself using more pots and pans than I usually do on a weeknight. I also found a few mistakes on the recipe cards. For example, in the chicken empanada recipe, it told me to add tomato slices to the accompanying salad, but didn't mention anything about the red onion slices, which were shown in the photo of the dish.

There were also leftovers of a few ingredients and dish components — half a jalapeño, half a small container of beef broth, and some empanada filling — and I would have loved to see tips on the recipe cards on potential ways to use them.

Overall, however, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the meals. While I wouldn't necessarily order Plated again given the fact that yes, I generally do enjoy planning my own meals and doing the shopping, I would recommend it to someone who was seeking out the convenience while also knowing they'd be eating well.

AT Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. However, the service did give us products for review purposes.

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