Local restaurants are moving beyond the kale when it comes to the green stuff
By Wanda Mann
Do you need a break from kale?Have you grown weary of arugula and utterly bored with romaine? Salads and other veggie-centric dishes are the perfect summer meals, but don’t get trapped in a leafy rut. The best salads keep your taste buds intrigued by showcasing the season’s freshest produce in unique combinations. Savory and sweet, crunchy and succulent, an artfully composed salad balances distinct flavors and textures. New York City has no shortage of tasty salads, but if you’re craving something deliciously different, try one of these winning dishes.
Salade Crottin de Chavignol et Figues Fraîches ($13)
1294 Third Avenue at 74th Street
For a salad with a bit of French flair, Maison Kayser presents an organic mixed green salad that is far from boring. Mesclun goes from mundane to marvelous when dressed in a chic lemon vinaigrette and paired with fresh black mission figs and tomatoes. Known throughout the world for their outstanding breads, Maison Kayser serves the salad with three crostini (little toasts) that are topped with melted Crottin de Chavignol – a renowned goat cheese with a strong nutty flavor from France’s Loire Valley.
- Il Gattopardo
Braised Escarole with Pine Nuts, Raisins, Anchovies and Gaeta Olives ($16)
33 West 54th Street
A leafy green from the chicory family, escarole is a classic Italian ingredient and the centerpiece of Il Gattopardo’s sophisticated dish. Possessing a bitter flavor that mellows a bit when cooked, escarole is balanced by Chef Vito Gnazzo’s addition of sweet raisins, savory anchovies, Gaeta olives from the namesake town south of Rome, Pecorino cheese, and crunchy pine nuts. While this warm dish may push the boundaries of what counts as a salad, Il Gattopardo’s Braised Escarole is a light and flavorful vegetable dish that makes a very fine summer meal.
Panzanella Salad ($7)
1593 First Avenue at 83rd Street
Simple yet incredibly satisfying, this traditional Tuscan salad features juicy tomatoes with crisp cucumbers, silky olive oil, fragrant basil, and small pieces of bread. While other salads may toss in a few croutons, in Panzanella the bread is an essential element. The bread bits are integrated throughout the salad and absorb the delicious flavors and juices of the other components without becoming soggy. Panzanella is a salad that really lets quality ingredients shine without too much manipulation.