When the weather gets hot, hot, HOT — as in above 90 degrees in Central New York for consecutive days — a crisp, cool, salad is the perfect meal. Gather the goods from your favorite farmers market, toss the fresh ingredients together and whip up a vinaigrette. Or step out to an air-conditioned restaurant and let someone else prepare a salad for you.
Cherri Hassett, owner of Soup R Salads, 308 S. Warren St. (214-4569, facebook.com/souprsalads), says the fast-casual restaurant sees a surge in salad orders when temperatures rise. The salad ingredient stations that are carefully assembled before lunch need to be re-stocked several times on hot days, and Hassett’s sister, who handles most salad orders, is busy, busy, busy. “In the summertime, she gets nailed,” Hassett says.
Soup R Salads offers three daily salad specials, usually a fruit salad and salads made with potatoes, pasta, grains and legumes. These run the gamut from veggie orzo salad with basil pesto vinaigrette to black bean salad with tomatoes and spinach, to rice salad with chicken and vegetables and a ginger-peanut dressing. You can order a soup and salad or half-sandwich and salad combo, as well as single salad and two- or three-salad combo plates.
The daily salads supplement a menu of standbys, including Caesar salad, taco salad with seasoned ground beef, Greek salad and a southwest salad with black beans and shredded chicken. A special entree salad is also offered most days, such as a classic Nicoise salad (potatoes, green beans, tomatoes, tuna, Nicoise olives), a spinach salad with bacon, mushrooms, red onion and hard boiled egg, served with bacon balsamic vinaigrette and a Caprese salad (tomatoes, mozzarella, basil) over a bed of greens, with sunflower seeds and balsamic glaze. “When it’s hot, I like to do entree salads,” Hassett says. “They sell very well.”
We tapped social media and crowd-sourced some favorite salad stops from Central New York food enthusiasts. Read on for ideas and inspiration. And stay cool!
Beet salad at Prime Steakhouse, 101 E. Water St. (299-8047, syrprime.com/syracuse-steakhouse). The Hanover Square venue features mesclun greens, roasted beets, fried goat cheese, candied walnuts and honey balsamic dressing. Recommended by Lauren Kochian, who is also a fan of the Buffalo chicken salad at the 1060 Restaurant at the Genesee Grande Hotel, 1060 E. Genesee St., but she notes it’s available only on Mondays. (The 1060 offers a daily salad special.)
Jackie O salad at Today’s Special Cafe, 109 S. Warren St. (472-5944, todaysspecialcafe.com). This specialty at the State Tower Building restaurant has mesclun greens, baby spinach, cucumbers, grapes, sliced strawberries, mandarin oranges and sliced almonds, with balsamic vinaigrette or your choice of dressing. Recommended by Derek Goodroe. (The Sid’s Caesar and Zorba the Greek salads sound good, too. We like the sense of humor at Today’s Special.)
Salads at Vince’s Gourmet Imports, 440 S. Main St., North Syracuse (452-1000, vincesgourmet.com). The choices range from a basic garden salad to a traditional antipasto salad with greens, tomatoes, roasted red peppers, Italian ham, salami and provolone cheese to a chicken salad with greens and vegetables, topped with grilled or fried chicken. Recommended by Mark Blanding: “Awesome salads.”
Marinated grilled chicken salad at Barado’s on the Water, 57 Bradbury Road, Central Square (668-5428, facebook.com/Barados.on.the.Water). This special offering features mixed greens, cucumber, mango, pecans and red onion with a strawberry cabernet vinaigrette. Recommended by Linda O’Boyle. Other special salads pop up regularly at this seasonal restaurant at a marina near Oneida Lake, including Cobb salad, Caprese salad and seared salmon on Caesar salad.
Thai tofu salad at Strong Hearts Cafe, 719 E. Genesee St. (478-0000, strongheartscafe.com). This seasonal favorite features grilled maple chipotle tofu, Thai-spiced cashews, shredded red cabbage, sliced cukes, edamame and fresh cilantro atop a bed of fresh spring mix. It’s served with a zippy house-made Thai vinaigrette. Recommended by Christina Limpert: “My go-to salad this summer.”
Salads at CoreLife Eatery, 7265 Buckley Road, North Syracuse (299-4451, eatatcore.com). Start with a base of dark, leafy greens (your choice), add toppings (also your choice, like carrots, tomatoes, whole kernel corn, black beans) and homemade dressings — you can eat salad at Core pretty much endlessly and never have the same thing twice. Recommended by Jen Feeley-Lampman and Tracy Zimmer (“Salad-O-Rama,” as Lampman calls it).
Sherwood salad at Sherwood Inn, 26 W. Genesee St., Skaneateles (685-3405, thesherwoodinn.com). It’s a munchy crunchy bowl of romaine, roasted red peppers, bacon, tomato, shaved Asiago and house-made croutons, served with Parmesan peppercorn dressing. Recommended by Greg Munno, who is also a fan of the Cobb salad, served across the street at the Blue Water Grill.
Goi Ga (spicy chicken salad) at New Century Vietnamese Restaurant, 518 Kirkpatrick St. (410-9999, newcenturyviet.com). A big steaming bowl of pho (Vietnamese noodle soup) is a wonderful thing, but so is a fresh and vibrant salad, with chicken, cabbage, bean sprouts and other veggies. Recommended by Owen O’Neill: “My current go-to salad in hot weather.”
Lunchtime salad spread at Pastabilities, 311 S. Franklin St. (474-1153, pastabilities.com). Cafeteria-style lunches at the Armory Square mainstay include pasta, personal pizzas and a dynamite salad spread that includes standards (tossed salad, Caesar salad, fruit salad, chicken penne salad) as well as several salad specials each day. Order one, order two, order a larger sampler plate. Recommended by food blogger (blogaldente.com) and restaurant reviewer Jared Paventi: “That’s quite a spread and the chicken penne lunch salad is a crowd pleaser.”
Salads at the Lincklaen House, 79 Albany St., Cazenovia (655-3461, lincklaenhouse.com). The menu has about a dozen of them, including a Mediterranean salmon salad, spicy Buffalo barbecue chicken salad and an ahi tuna salad (field greens tossed with cucumber, tomato, curried granola and tomato vinaigrette topped with grilled rare ahi tuna). Recommended by Aileen Randolph, who also recommends the sweet greens salad at Cazenovia’s Brae Loch Inn: field greens, with pears, dates, dried cranberries, candied walnuts, Stilton blue cheese and sweet Vidalia onion dressing.