1. Always Summer Salad at Burger Jones: This scrumptious salad balances tart Granny Smith apples against sweet dried cranberries and a tangy vinaigrette. However, what makes this salad a standout is a sprinkling of hazelnuts which plays off crumbled, creamy goat cheese to sublime effect. A juicy chicken breast rounds out this dish.
2. Vermicelli Salad at Saigon Palace: This refreshing Vietnamese favorite features a variety of textures and tastes. It begins with shredded lettuce, mint, carrots, cucumbers, and one topping — meat of lightly fried tofu — over a bed of delicate noodles. Top it off with crushed peanuts, sprouts and fish sauce and you've got a salad that has it all: Each bite is sweet, savory, and spicy.
3. Spinach Mango at Morgan's on Nicollet: This salad is loaded with fresh flavor — red onions, succulent mango, and juicy tomatoes add plenty of kick to the greens. A handful of mild queso fresco and bacon vinaigrette — which is heated before serving — add an expected, tasty touch.
4. Caesar at Porter Creek Hardwood Grill: This is no ordinary romaine-drowned-in-cream dressing combo. The Caesar at Porter Creek boasts a light coating of house-made dressing with fresh-shaved parmesan and the showstopper — polenta croutons. An innovative take on a classic.
5. Spring rolls at Thai Curry House: This is much like a vermicelli salad, with many of the same ingredients — julienned cucumbers, match-stick carrots, mint, noodles and a meat (shrimp or pork usually). However, all that flavor is bound up in a rice paper shell, which becomes pliant and chewy after a good soaking in water. With peanut sauce this tiny Thai dish is divine.
6. Citrus Steak Salad at Roasted Pear: A tangy combination of cucumbers, pineapple, mandarin oranges and vinaigrette complement a mound of greens, topped with skillfully-seasoned skirt steak.
7. Stephano's Wedge: This dish is a generous rendering of a steakhouse staple. If you order it, you will get a third of a head of lettuce, topped with a hearty dousing of bleu cheese dressing and crispy bacon.
8. Greek at Jo Jo's Rise and Wine: A crisp take on this mediterranean classic will go perfectly with Jo Jo's latest item, a new veggie pizza.
9. Apple Walnut at Buzz: A crunchy, sweet but healthy alternative to the Buzz Coffee & Cafe's famously decadent waffle menu.
10. Taco Salad El Loro: This hearty salad is loaded with cheese, meat and sour cream, topped with a generous portion of guacamole.