The Salad Days
by Julie Besonen, 06/18/2014
Waldorf salad photo courtesy of the Waldorf Astoria • Lafayette photo by Noah Fecks
Sometimes there's nothing better than a nice big salad for a meal, especially when it's hot outside. Think salads are boring? Not when you taste the bracing larb pla dook yang (spicy grilled catfish salad) at East Village Thai favorite Somtum Der. Kale salads are almost inescapable these days, but it's easy to see why they captured palates in the first place at Northern Spy Food Co., where the dark greens are laced with aged cheddar, cubes of roasted sweet potato, crunchy almonds and salty pecorino. Five Leaves in Greenpoint has another great take on it, chopping up black kale and tossing it with spicy anchovy dressing, aged gouda and hazelnuts. Il Buco in NoHo also serves an exceptional kale salad that can never be removed from the menu, slicking the cavolo nero with a nutritious and invigorating garlic, anchovy and lemon vinaigrette. To return to a time-honored French classic, the Nicoise salad at Lafayette is incomparable, topped with a tumble of beautifully seared tuna and the greenest of green beans. A true New York City classic can still be found at Oscar's American Brasserie in the Waldorf Astoria, where maître d' Oscar Tschirky is said to have created the Waldorf salad, a hearty mixture of lettuce, apples, celery, walnuts and mayonnaise. To see other destinations where meal-size salads have a fan following, read our slideshow.