SCO reviews some of the area's hottest salad sources
Ah, salads. Some people love them, some people hate them, some people just eat them because they're good for you. But the true magic of the salad is that it can be whatever you want it to be. Through dressings and extras, your salad can mirror your favorite flavors and foods. And so this SCO salad expert has trekked the Washington D.C. area scouting out the best salad joints to see if they're really worth all the hype. And through the journey, she learned that fresh really is the best.
730 7 Street NW Washington D.C. (also four other locations in D.C.)
Best Overall: Cosi
5252 Wisconsin Ave NW Ste 5, Washington, DC (202) 537-9300 Friendship Heights Station or 7251 Woodmont Avenue, Bethesda, MD 20814 (301) 652-6098
Cosi's founding belief is that "life should be delicious," and that belief has certainly found its way into the restaurant's food. The restaurant, which has 10 locations in the District alone, offers a savory variety of salad choices that are sure to satisfy your cravings. One can order more than 12 different salads with influences ranging from east-Asian to the standard Cobb, and can add extra protein for a few dollars more. Cosi's proclaimed Signature Salad is a true standout with an interesting combination of mixed greens, red grapes, pistachios, dried cranberries and Gorgonzola all drizzled with sherry shallot vinaigrette. Although this may seem like an odd combination, all of the flavors work together to create sheer joy. Another great choice is the Shanghai Chicken Salad, which hits everything just right: the salad is fresh, crisp, has mouth watering chicken slices and compliments its Asian influence with a nice ginger-soy dressing. One of Cosi's honored flatbreads accompanies each salad; though one might find them rather bland, it turns out that the extra carbs only add to the all-around fantastic tastes of the salad.
Best Variety: Whole Foods Salad Bar
833 Wayne Ave, Silver Spring, Md 20910
Best family atmosphere: Mark's Kitchen
7006 Carroll Ave, Takoma Park, Md 20912
In the heart of Takoma Park lies Mark's Kitchen, an authentic restaurant that encompasses the vibe of its neighborhood; Mark's Kitchen has a relaxed atmosphere that is perfect for the family. Mark's Kitchen, a self proclaimed "small restaurant," prides itself on presenting diners of all ages with an eclectic mix of vegetarian food, sandwiches and salads. Though their salads are not the focal point of the restaurant, it still has a wide variety gives any salad-craving diner something to try. The traditional Caesar salad lives up to its name with crisp lettuce and subtle yet tasty bits of Parmesan. Unfortunately, the bland house-made Caesar dressing makes the overall taste of the salad only so-so. For slightly more money one can add teriyaki chicken, Korean steak, or another grilled meat, all of which are exceptionally flavorsome and add something extra to each salad. The Baby Lettuce salad incorporates a variety of baby lettuce types, cucumber, tomato, onion and sprouts and is generally satisfactory, though not anything amazingly special. The alfalfa sprouts, however, are an unexpected highlight. Presentation was not the restaurant's strong suit though, the Korean streak gets plopped on top of the Baby Lettuce salad and is not enticing in any way. Mark's Kitchen has a great family atmosphere but is only middle of the road in respect to salad quality.
Marjorie Fuchs. Marjorie gets her name from a variety of sources- "Marjorie” being her Great-Grandmother's name and "Fuchs” meaning fox in German. She tends to go by Margie. Margie is keen on traveling, especially to new places, adores Europe and the American Southwest. She loves creativity, eclectic … More »