Going gourmet on your salad days
Although salads have sometimes been considered an inconsequential part of the meal, that viewpoint really does the vegetable mélange an injustice. With farm-fresh ingredients increasingly becoming expected in the dinner experience, you’ll find the salad section has expanded well beyond the classic Caesar. Here are a few options that will change your view of the dish from diet to divine.
At Yardbird Southern Table & Bar in The Venetian, dive into the butter lettuce and grilled mango salad, with tomato, onion and benne seed dressing (benne is a sesame variety traditionally used in Southern cooking). The lettuce is tender, the mango sweet and the smoked pecans delish, but the dressing really throws this salad into the excellent category. And that’s by design, says Patrick Rebholz of Yardbird’s parent company 50Eggs. “This flavorful salad was conceived around the vinaigrette, highlighting benne seeds because of their rich Southern history. The remaining ingredients were chosen to balance the dish, and produce a perfect blend of sweet and crisp elements.”
Frisée aux lardons at Bardot Brasserie in Aria tosses the very notion of simple salad in the air. It’s constructed of four types of very different lettuces (radicchio, escarole, dandelion leaves and hearts of frisée) and bacon, plus a poached egg ready to lend its lovely yolk to the situation.
Nosh: Salad Days
But sometimes you want simple. The greens salad at Bazaar Meat by José Andrés combines a few petite leafs, a bit of sprouts and a light lemon dressing. It’s incredibly good, and you might want to order two, three or maybe 10 of them.
For a twist on that whole lettuce angle, the burrata panzanella (bread salad) at Mercato della Pescheria in The Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian and The Palazzo combines heirloom tomatoes, foccacia, herbs and creamy, hand-pulled burrata cheese.
When Cornerstone Steakhouse in the Gold Coast opened, it introduced a beautiful whiskey bar, elegant dining room and an impressive menu. The beet and teardrop tomato salad puts earthy, wonderful beets in arugula, throws on a nice tangy goat cheese, a few pecans and herb vinaigrette and balsamic vinegar, and somehow ends up with a salad you might abandon that porterhouse for. Well, maybe you’d abandon the meat. Maybe.