Leaf: Italian Chopped Salad
419 W. Second St. 474-5323, www.leafsalad.com.
Unfortunately, we can’t all pack up our bags on a whim and jet off to Italy (OK, Little Italy) for summer vacation. But we can stop in at Leaf in the Second Street District for an Italian Chopped Salad ($9.99). This minimalist salad place takes almost every bit of gastronomical pleasure that we associate with Italy and throws it in a bowl. It’s basically a deconstructed Italian hoagie without the carb guilt (although a piece of herbed focaccia on the side is tempting). Served in a rustic bowl, the fresh spring mix is topped with pig at its finest — salty salami and prosciutto. Hardboiled eggs and provolone cheese add to the soft chewiness, though the snap of pine nuts, crunch of red onion and dense, layered artichoke hearts keep the salad’s texture from becoming one oversaturated Pavarotti note. Cherry tomatoes and pepperoncini provide tart and piquant tang, and the chopped basil provides a cool sensation. The Italian Chopped is one of a dozen salads devised by the folks at Leaf. But those who don’t like being told how to dress or top their salads should fear not. Leaf offers customers a chance to customize their salads, and with more than 50 toppings, dressings, cheeses, nuts and proteins, the combinations are almost endless.
Jordan Feiner owns Leaf, the Second Street District restaurant that specializes in salads. One that’s hard to pass up is the Italian Chopped Salad, with cured meats, provolone, hardboiled egg and other ingredients atop spring-mix greens.
If you’d like to customize your salad, Leaf’s Feiner is happy to oblige. Customers have 50 ingredients from which to choose.