Tuna Steak Salad @ Hops Burger Bar (GSO)
Ingredients: Grilled yellowfin tuna with mango relish, mandarin oranges, wontons, cucumber, radishes, wasabi, aioli, mixed greens and soy-ginger vinaigrette.
Beloved for its burgers, Hops also offers four fresh salads on its menu — not counting any rotating specials. They’re all well done, but the only one that’s particularly striking is the Tuna Steak Salad, with its mango relish, wontons, and of course, the grilled tuna. You can trust anything coming out of the kitchen at Hops, be it the mushroom cauliflower veggie burger, the bison meat, or one of the salads. If you don’t feel like tuna, try the simple salad or house salad but add the Crabby Patty, which includes not only a fried crab cake but also a mango, onion & jalapeño salsa.
Twisted Chicken Salad @ Fishbones (GSO)
Ingredients: Fried chicken tenders in spicy chili garlic honey sauce, house salad with scallion lemongrass dressing and crispy noodles.
It’s probably kind of ridiculous that I don’t order a salad with seafood at a place called Fishbones. You can get the house or Caesar with ahi tuna steak or wild salmon (either can come grilled or blackened), or with jumbo shrimp if you’d prefer. But the three primary salads at Fishbones — cattycorner to Sticks & Stones and under the same ownership — aren’t seafood oriented.
Last time I went, my friend Maia ordered the SOB Chicken Salad sans meat, enjoying the Southwestern-style salad that comes in a fried tortilla bowl. And the Thai Beef Salad that comes with a creamy peanut dressing sounds pretty good, too. But my favorite salad in the Triad, and the only one I order consistently as an entrée, is Fishbones’ Twisted Chicken Salad. Maybe that isn’t surprising, considering the main craving I harbored during eight years as a vegetarian was for chicken tenders. But it’s the sauces that set this large salad apart, thanks to the sweet and spicy sauce on the chicken strips and the lemongrass dressing on the veggies. The “noodles” — which are more like miniscule breadsticks — provide a nice crunch to the salad, making it all the more satisfying.
Yes, there are more complex and unique salads on this list. But the Twisted Chicken is still my favorite.
Wedge salad: The classic steakhouse wedge salad consists of a magnificent cleave of iceberg lettuce, with bleu cheese and bacon. Variations in the Triad abound, both in and out of the steakhouse.
GSO: Tap Room, Lucky 32, Four Flocks & Larder, Pastabilities, Harper’s Restaurant, Darryl’s Wood-Fired Grill, Iron Hen, the Tap Room, Ruth’s Chris Steak House
W-S: Village Tavern, Bernardin’s, Graze, Jeffrey Adams, Diamondback Grill, the Porch, Spring House Restaurant, Bleu
HP: AP’s Southern Kitchen, Steak Street, Gianno’s, Austin’s
Caesar salad: In the old days the waiter used to make this one tableside, with Romaine lettuce, anchovy paste, coddled egg and croutons that benefit from a bath in the dressing. These days they are everywhere, but they are not all created equally. Here are some favorites:
GSO: Elizabeth’s Pizza, Elm Street Grill, Four Flocks & Larder, Pastabilities, Harper’s Restaurant, Ruth’s Chris Steak House
W-S: Sweet Potatoes, River Birch Lodge, Di Lisio’s Italian Restaurant, the Carving Board, Milner’s American Southern
HP: Chop House Grille, M. Stephen’s, Austin’s, AP’s Southern Kitchen, Steak Street
Cobb salad: Like most salads, a Cobb comes with greens, bacon, tomato and cheese. What makes a Cobb special are the boiled eggs, capers and avocado.
GSO: Traveled Farmer, Southern Lights Bistro, the Tap Room, Café Pasta
W-S: Foothill’s Brewpub, Local 27101, Bernardin’s, Diamondback Grill
HP: Blue Zucchini, Main Street Grill
Salad Nicoise: At its most basic, this French classic consists simply of greens, anchovies or tuna, potatoes, green beans, olives and boiled eggs.
GSO: Liberty Oak, LaRue Elm
W-S: Pane e Vino
HP: Emerywood Fine Foods
Greek salad: Kalamata olives, feta cheese, cucumbers and peppers are required in any traditional Greek salad, with hints of lemon and oregano.
GSO: Sarah’s Kabob Shop, Mythos Grill, the Pavilion, Jack’s Corner Diner, Nazareth Bread Co. Smith Street Diner, Fisher’s Grille, Acropolis
W-S: Athena Greek Taverna, George’s Grecian Corner, the Carving Board, Hutch & Harris
HP: Peppermill Café, Mad Greek Grill, Gianno’s, Jimmy the Greek, Salem Kitchen