Wednesday, August 20, 2014
The 10 Simple Reasons Simply Salad Is Simply Better
Due to my pending nuptials, 2014 has been chock full of lunch salads. In an attempt to not want to punch a wall, I've done my best to mix things up (amazing salad pun right there) by visiting an array of lettuce providers. Many of them have been of the "Make Your Own Salad" variety due to the fact that most of the Restaurant Makes Their Own Salads simply don't do the trick for me. I'm a man (sometimes; on a good day) and I need my salads to be filling. Unfortunately, most of the Make Your Owns oft disappoint for one reason or another.
With this in mind, I was a bit skeptical when a Twitter Friend recommended the newly opened Simply Salad in Santa Monica. However, a local salad chain doesn't just rapidly expand in LA without a touch of success. This was already their third location in a very rapid time frame. I decided to give it a try - and it definitely lives up to the hype. The salads are big AND good. Definitely the type of place Elaine Benis would go absolutely bonkers for.
These are the simple factors that put Simply Salad simply above the other Make Your Own Salad Joints:
1) They Don't Charge Extra for Grilled Onions and Sauteed Mushrooms - So many make your own salad places offer a certain amount of free toppings (At SS it's five), including gratis raw mushrooms and onions, yet when you scroll down the menu a bit, you also notice caramelized onions... for a dollar extra. A whole freaking dollar for some onion slivers that were thrown in a pan for a few minutes?! What am I, SCROOGE MCDUCK?
2) They Slice the Cherry/Grape Tomatoes in Half - This may sound trivial, but anyone who has ever been faced with the Herculean feat of trying to tackle a salad packed with full-sized spherical/circular tomato nuggets know what I'm talking about. The fact that SS takes the time to pre-slice them is philanthropically HUMUNGOUS.
3) The Chicken Is Real - Very few things in life are more criminal than paying $10 for a salad that clearly has tasteless, pre-made Costco "grilled white chicken" pieces with faux grillmarks. That's not even full chicken breast - it's also a lot of rib. Simply Salad has real chicken. With real grill marks. With real taste. That's all, REAL breast - those things are definitely nats.
4) To Alleviate Long Lines, They Take Orders As You Enter - In hopes of getting orders out of the way before you approach the salad bar and hem and hah and twiddle your thumbs and change your mind a thousand times, they have multiple employees designated to taking your order when you're in the back of the line. This is the In 'n Out philosophy and for a newbie like Simply Salad, very impressive that they would have the foresight to devote workers and money to this.
5) They Offer More Salad Dressings Than Newman's Own - Simply Salad offers 26 salad dressings. Twenty. Six. That's like a marathon of salad dressings. They have a nice medley for the whole family with some super duper healthy options (Pomegranate Vinaigrette) to, uhh, stuff I like (BBQ Ranch) to huh, interesting (Wasabi, Sweet Waldorf, Horseradish).
6) They Actually Put Avocado You Paid For In The Salad - Many places charge a ransom for avocado. Yet when you do fork over the ridiculous moolah for the salad addition, it often feels like you're stuck playing a game of hide 'n go seek in search of the 'cado. My Simply Salad features nice, fresh chunks that absolutely suck at hiding.
7) They Play Good Music - I cannot underscore the importance of the soundtrack when you're eating salad for lunch again. Eating salad every day can get downright depressing. Add in some Celine Dion on full blast and you honestly consider suffocating yourself in the salad bowl. In today's world of Pandora and Spotify a restaurant has almost no excuse for crappy music.The music at SS sounds right off my iTunes, which, depending on how you view my music tastes, is a good(/great/horrible) thing.
8) They Serve Coke Zero Out of the Fountain - Almost all of LA's Make Your Own Salad Joints pretend to be super nutrituous by only offering non-soft drink beverages. WHY? That's imbecilic for two reasons: 1) Most of their salad dressings contain more sugar than a real Coke, 2) When I'm having a salad, the last thing I want is a b.s. juice. I want soda. I deserve it. And Coke Zero out of the fountain is even better than out of the can and everybody knows that and if they don't they're idiots.
9) They Chop Every Salad - Unless you say otherwise, they chop every salad. Right in front of you. With what appears to be an advance level ninja lettuce chopper. It is incredibly entertaining to watch and probably could keep your kids occupied for hours on end. But even better: it makes the salad taste good.
10) I Was Full.
(The above pictured salad, therefore known as The Unemployed Eater: Simply Salad Mix, Caramelized Onions, Grape Tomatoes, Hard-Boiled Eggs, Sauteed Mushrooms and Sunflower Seeds plus added Avocado, Pesto Chicken and Crumbled Feta, with BBQ Ranch)
1401 2nd Street, Santa Monica (plus two DTLA locations)