Long ago (think the Mad Men days), salads were simply preludes to a meal. Now they tend to be the main attraction. And luckily for us, the County is ripe with oversized bowls to meet our hearty appetites.
Want some crunch with your salad? Order the Oriental chicken salad ($11.25) at City Limits Diner (200 Central Ave, White Plains 914-686-9000). While the bottom has your usual suspects (mixed field greens, tomato, and cucumber), it’s the two toppings—delicate strips of poached chicken layered amidst tarot root (it tastes like a sweet, crunchy vegetable chip)—that make this salad so special.
Aside from the spectacular salad sizes, what’s great about M.A.D Café (129 Wolfs Ln, Pelham 914-738-7395) are the customized choices. Build your own garden of goodies (love that the counter folk mix the dressing and other toppings to a perfect dressing-to-greens ratio), or order from the range of ready-made salads on the menu. Most popular: the Overflowing Steam Salad, loaded with apples, spicy walnuts, dried cranberries, and blue cheese dressed with raspberry vinaigrette ($9.50).
There’s a bottle of house-made vinaigrette dressing on practically every table at Metro Deli (4 Palmer Ave, Scarsdale 914-472-4760). That’s because almost everyone here orders a salad (dressing on the side a given). It’s a tough choice between the California Cobb with grilled chicken strips, avocado, and Gorgonzola ($13.50), or the Corfu with chopped romaine, feta cheese, olives, and scallions ($9.95). Whatever you choose, rest assured you’re going home with leftovers. (P.S.: Sister restaurant Scarsdale Metro offers portions just as humungous.)
Nancy Selzer, managing partner at Tarry Lodge (18 Mill St, Port Chester 914-939-3111), says any salad named after her is going to have a lot of pork. And so, the meal-sized Nancy’s Chopped Salumi Salad ($12) boasts chopped iceberg with marinated peppers, olives, artichokes, salami, mortadella, and Parmigiano-Reggiano. It’s like an overstuffed sandwich in a bowl.
Who says lettuce has to anchor a salad? The Vietnamese salad ($7.25) at Haiku Asian Bistro (56 Pondfield Rd, Bronxville 914-337-5601) is an explosion of contrasting tastes and textures, thanks to the balance of mango, jicama, crushed peanuts, and crispy cellophane noodles.
A bed of greens forms the base for the mesculin salad ($7.75) at The Heights Bar & Bistro (334 Underhill Ave, Yorktown Heights 914-962-3777) where roasted pears, pecan Brie fritters, and pecan vinaigrette make for a gorgeous, and dare we say, sweet presentation. Top with grilled sliced hanger steak or seared scallops for a well-rounded meal.
It’s hard not to love a place with salad monikers like the Executive (mesculin greens topped with shrimp, chicken breast, and sliced mozzarella, accented with endive and radicchio, $14.95); the Rockefeller (mesculin, arugula, endive, Kalamata olives, fresh mozzarella, topped with crumbled Gorgonzola and sliced New York sirloin, $13.95); and the Mona Lisa (red leaf lettuce, spinach and arugula with sliced pear, berries, walnuts, and melted Brie, $13.95). The imaginative play of ingredients, along with the cozy pub setting, makes Pete’s Saloon & Restaurant (8 W Main St, Elmsford 914-592-9849) a salad lover’s paradise.
You’ll find a lot of seasonal and nightly special salads at 121 Restaurant & Bar (2 Dingle Ridge Rd, North Salem 914-669-0121), but my fave remains the almond-crusted goat cheese salad, a striking composition of chutney, goat cheese croquette (the outside is crispy and the inside warm and creamy), and organic greens served with a pear-balsamic vinaigrette and a mound of toasted almonds ($11).
Rye Ridge Deli (126 S Ridge St, Rye Brook 914-937-2131) is the Queen of Oversized Salads. A popular choice: The Rye Ridge Salad Bowl, which overflows with your choice of tuna salad, chicken salad, curry chicken salad, egg salad, shrimp salad, seafood salad, or grilled chicken ($13.99).
Family-run Santorini Greek Restaurant (175 Valley St, Sleepy Hollow 914-631-4300) prides itself on its authentic cuisine. The enormous Greek salad with its mound of romaine, fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, feta, black olives, and red onions, drizzled with homemade dressing, doesn’t disappoint ($9.95).
Toss and Go
Choose a lettuce and some toppings, and let these salad boutiques work their magic.
This Little Piggy
64 Halstead Ave, Harrison
Mix It Up
72 Mamaroneck Ave, White Plains
Larchmont resident Jeanne Muchnick grew up on iceberg lettuce wedges and Russian dressing. Today her salad tastes range from “everything but the kitchen sink” to simple greens tossed with carrots and cucumbers.
Captions: The porkcentric Nancy’s Chopped Salumi Salad from Tarry Lodge is a meal in itself.