Try these four adventurous salads

Try these four adventurous salads

Forget the iceberg lettuce topped with bright yellow shredded cheese and ranch dressing. While that recipe may still be a favorite of build-your-own salad bar aficionados, today nothing is off-limits for chefs as they strive to create exciting salads. Ingredients like caviar and fried goat cheese liven up lettuce, and presentation is paramount as greens support towers of meats, veggies and more.

  • Smoked sea bass salad, Splash, $15: Diners come to Splash to sample the flavors of the ocean, and this salad does the trick. Sea bass is smoked over cherry wood, then chilled and crumbled on chopped romaine. The salad is a meal in itself, including cucumber, tomato, capers, red onion and egg and topped with caviar dressing. The mayonnaise-based dressing includes tobiko, or flying fish roe. Find it: 303 Locust St., 515-244-5686,
  • Fried goat cheese and avocado salad, Trostel’s Greenbriar, $11: It’s a classic spot for a steak or pasta, but for something lighter, try one of the salads at this cozy Johnston restaurant. Goat cheese is dipped in corn starch and fried. Along with avocado, the warm cheese tops a distinctive salad full of bright flavors, namely arugula, grapefruit segments, citrus vinaigrette and grape tomatoes. It’s a refreshing option for lunch. But get there fast—part of a seasonal rotation of salads, the fried goat cheese and avocado will be replaced with another option near the end of November, likely a hangar steak salad with greens from Lee’s Greens in Nevada, Iowa. Find it: 5810 Merle Hay Road, Johnston, 515-253-0124,
  • Luau salad (entree version), The Cheesecake Factory, $14.50: The luau salad looks something like a party on a plate. For those who like their salads vertical, it’s a tower of grilled chicken breast, greens, red and yellow peppers, mango, carrots and green beans, with sesame seed-encrusted wontons serving as scaffolding. A smaller lunch version is $10.50. Find it: 101 Jordan Creek Pkwy., West Des Moines, 515-457-9888,
  • Garbage salad, Chef’s Kitchen, $12.99: Popular in Chicago, garbage salads are packed with meat, cheese and whatever else the chef has handy. The more the merrier. Chef’s Kitchen’s hearty garbage salad includes greens with capicollo, salami, turkey, mozzarella, peppers, artichokes, olives, tomatoes and green onions. The whole thing is tossed with Italian dressing and topped with one large shrimp. Find it: 1903 Beaver Ave., 515-255-4411,

About the Author

Laura is contributor to Juice Magazine.

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