Top 5 Salads for Non-Aficionados

Eating salad marks an obligation or punishment for some, especially this time of year when resolutions have yet to be broken. But there are some salads that are so good that even those who loathe their leafiness can get down with a few cherry tomatoes--as long as they share the bowl with some meat or cheese. Without further adieu, here are the top five salads in town for people whose take on veggies mirrors that of the average six-year-old.

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5. The Continental: U-District, 4549 University Way N.E., Greek salad

Everyone always rags on the U-District when it comes to food. I wish people could remember the difference between eating and dining. I spend the bulk of my time eating, personally, and this Greek restaurant on The Ave offers solid, well-priced food for those of us that grew up hitting the local Greek run all night diner after a night out. The traditional Greek salad--cucumber, tomato, olive and feta--is not a thing of transcendence. , the tomatoes aren't always in season, but it's crunchy, cheesy and salty and served ever so sweetly.

4. Matt's in the Market: Pike Place Market, 94 Pike St., Cobb Salad.

If they can't get devoured in one sitting, big salads are useless for the most part. Except when that salad is a Cobb salad. The Cobb at Matt's in the Market contains plent of the homerun elements of this classic: grilled chicken (herbed, packing lots of flavor), eggs (in this case deviled, hell yeah), bacon bacon bacon, nad avocado in abundance. The restaurant will kill me for saying so, but it's easily sharable, and Matt's gets a point for mellowing out the blue cheese quotient.

3. The Metropolitan Grill: Downtown, 820 2nd Ave., Caesar salad

First, let us hold one truth to be self-evident, that a caesar salad must possess a discernable amount of anchovy flavor. This little bit of umami is what makes the entire dish, the way it combines with the further umami of Reggiano Parmesan and the zip of lemon juice in the caesar's creamy dressing. Whiners from the anti-oily fish contingent have slowly degraded the caesar into a salad recognizable by croutons alone, rendering its dressing a flaccid excuse for ranch. But some restaurants hold fast to the classic, and The Met's version remains the city's standard

2. Maneki Restaurant: International District, 304 6th Avenue S., Nightly salad special

Sit in the bar of Maneki, and you notice the handwritten signs for off-the-menu items, one of which is a mixed green salad complete with a perfectly lovely seasonal citrus vinaigrette, an afterthought of chopped vegetables, sunflower seeds and TWO kinds of fresh as can be sashimi. It costs less than a plain mixed green salad at any other restaurant downtown, and that should embarrass some people. Before any defensive retort, do you have a James Beard Award? Maneki does.

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1. Long Provincial: Downtown, 1201 2nd Ave., Green Papaya salad

The chicken is the preferred option over the prawns, but it doesn't matter as this classic Vietnamese salad is all about the crunch. The presentation is similar to a raw coleslaw and includes green papaya, carrot and jicama in a light soy dressing with peanuts. It reigns as one of the best things of 2009, eaten on the twilight of the hottest day of the year next to lazy, undulating jellyfish after returning home from a 10 hour flight to an empty refrigerator, and a parboiled cat. It almost tastes exactly that refreshing every other day of the year.

 
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