The name "salad" comes in a conceptual box. Expectations translate to limitations and a general sense of why-bother-ness. It sounds healthy and refreshing, a zesty hymn to the bounty of nature, but somewhere along the line people stopped trying. A salad became merely a side dish, an appetizer. Restaurants gradually stripped away the accoutrements, the artistry, until a skeletal pile of iceberg doused in bulk-purchased, no-name ranch had the audacity to usurp the title. What a sad state of affairs. Luckily, Pizzalchik is stepping up to defend the salad's honor.
Pizzalchik's Tossed Salad ($9.95) not only puts the iceberg imposters to shame, but it shatters the conceptual limitations of the title. Spring mix is tossed with a plethora of finely prepared delights: spicy Asian noodles, broccoli marinated in orange vinaigrette, carrot slaw with currants, mango, shell pasta in tomato vinaigrette, pickled beets, kiwi, squash in orange cumin vinaigrette and more. Top that with your choice of fresh-made dressings and this salad Adonis is barely recognizable within the established concept. Just calling it salad is like referring to Zeus as Steve, just some guy who works over at Mt. Olympus.
Death penalty law professor Evan Mandery has a joke that it's easy to avoid being executed: just ask for the all-you-can-eat salad bar as your final meal. You'll stay alive, but you have to spend the rest of your life eating salad. Under normal circumstances, that's a pretty crappy deal. But if it were Pizzalchik's tossed salad, sign me up. This is one salad you can be proud to order tossed.