After enjoying the abundant produce of Southern California moving to the East Coast was not without it’s food challenges mainly the quest for a fresh, creative salad in a restaurant. We are talking about entree salads here not these small appetizer deals with mixed greens from a box and one cherry tomato as garnish.
An entree salad should be loaded with all different types of vegetables, a sprinkling of fresh chopped herbs, seeds and nuts and topped with a cooked protein such as grilled chicken, salmon or shrimp. Now this is what a meal is made of, especially for a satisfying lunch after the gym or a long hike.
Searching the area for a decent salad proved to be challenging with the driving distances between towns along the shore and the misleading tips from various reviewers online it took a number of visits to find the one that passed the test. This is not by any means a perfect salad, there is no comparison to the delectable offerings in Los Angeles but we are now here on the other side of the country so here are the choices.
After checking out four venues the verdict is in; Simons Marketplace in Chester has won first place for a terrific choice of prepared salads that are served with a side of mixed greens and a couple pieces of their wonderful French bread.
There are a minimum of five salads prepared daily with ingredients that are fresh and flavorful. These are the type of salads that everyone enjoys with pasta, cooked and raw vegetables, a variety of proteins and light dressings.
The other three venues that were on the list to try are; Pasta Avest, Jamss and Saybrook Soup and Sandwich. All three were very different.
Pasta Avest is a salad bar where one makes their own and is charged by the pound. In Guilford on the Post Road this small pasta and pizza joint is super casual with plastic bowls to build your salad in and decent ingredients. Nothing out of the ordinary, your standard pre-grated carrots, mixed greens, sliced mushrooms, canned olives and pale looking tomatoes.
Cooked chicken and canned tuna were your choices of protein and the salad is rated a six out of ten for it’s quality and decent price.A few improvements would be; fresh ground pepper, kosher salt and some new salad items that use a bit more imagination.
Jamss had many decent reviews online but not much was mentioned about their salad offerings. It was voted one of the best salad places in the Shoreline Times so a visit was in order. Their version is also a build your own salad but served at the table from a menu where you check off the boxes of what you like to top your greens with.
It came with a huge pile of lettuce and not enough of the extras except the chicken which was a bit dry and under-seasoned. The salad was extremely expensive at twenty dollars for not much in the way of interesting or flavorful toppings.
Saybrook Soup and Sandwich was also mentioned in the Shoreline paper as a good place for salad and has three choices all served with their raspberry vinaigrette. The vinaigrette is way too sweet so ask for their balsamic dressing which was decent. The salad is a healthy portion of greens, sliced red onion, a few cherry tomatoes and we ordered the roasted chicken on top which was delicious and well prepared. This would come in second on the list of good salad offerings in the area.
For those of you who enjoy a healthy, delicious fresh lunch Simons is worth the trip.