In the last two days, I’ve been confronted by two very different types of restaurant salad.
The first type is the “salad” in the picture above. It was lettuce greens and some tiny slices off the side of a tomato, basically just the skin of the tomato, in fact, all smothered in some kind of vinaigrette. It was intended to serve two. (The cup of soup was cold potato soup and I won’t bore with you how boring it was). As I started eating the salad, I realized that the lettuce was laced with blackened, slimy leaves that made me abandon the rest of the plate. That was at Sweet Melissa’s in Park Slope and it was part of our Champagne Tea we thought would be a fun treat for a summer afternoon. In their defense, the “tea sandwiches,” generously allowing that a mini quiche can be defined as a sandwich, were not bad and the cookies and petit four were by far the best part (unsurprising, since the restaurant really is a bakery at heart). We had to specifically ask for our tea to be brought to us, because the waiter assumed, without confirming with us, that we didn’t want it. But I digress from my salad. There is something about restaurant side salads, in some restaurants, that carry the assumption that you don’t really care about salad so they can be a depressing combination of pale attempts at tomato and some wilted greens slapped on a plate.
On the other hand, there’re the kinds of salad that are so amazing looking and so suspicious, I don’t even order them. These would be the 1200-1500 calorie monstrosities I avoided at the Cheesecake Factory the other day. With the advent of restaurants listing their calories on the menu, you can only wonder how they manage to make a chicken Ceasar salad morph into something so unhealthy. In fact, the chicken Caesar salad, at 1510 calories before adding dressing, carries almost the same caloric heft as the Double BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger at 1580 calories. How do they do that when 3 cups of homemade chicken Ceasar salad with dressing are only quoted as racking up approximately 300 calories? I understand portion sizes and calorie estimates vary and nothing is concrete, but that’s a wild difference!
In summary, from the very weak, puny side salads to the egregiously caloric dinner salads, the entire range of restaurant salads have convinced me to continue make my salads at home.
Any one else have a shocking restaurant salad story?