Summer season is high, and one of the best ways to celebrate the bounty of local farms and fresh produce is with a fruitful salad. Steakhouses in New Orleans have a long history of salad, too, maximizing fresh local provisions with unique, vegetal combinations that highlight Louisiana’s growing season. During these dog days of summer, here are some of the best salad options in New Orleans steakhouses salads.
Red Maple: This Gretna classic has its recipes down pat. This is true of its seasoned steaks, its crab cakes, its shrimp remoulade and its certainly true of its hearty salads, too. A far cry from diet fare, these steakhouse salads toe the line between wholesome and decadent, with options like crispy chicken salad with avocado, bacon, cheddar, croutons and honey-mustard dressing, crisp Caprese salad with fresh mozzarella, heirloom tomatoes, aromatic basil and balsamic glaze, and a chopped shrimp version with hearts of palm, tomato, boiled shrimp, bacon, green olives, egg and blue cheese. The seared tuna salad is a particularly nice, summery option, with yellowfin tuna over mixed greens with heirloom tomatoes and a zesty wasabi-avocado drizzle.
Dickie Brennan’s Steakhouse: This timeworn French Quarter institution has been innovating in the salad department for years. Along with other appetizing novelties like bone marrow escargots and McIlhenny oysters heaped with chipotle-Tabasco beurre blanc, salad stunners include a re-imagined tomato and blue cheese creation served as a savory Napoleon. Elegant and lustrous, the stacked dish contains thick tomato slices layered with Danish blue cheese, shaved red onion and housemade remoulade sauce. For the heirloom tomato salad, which is really at its seasonal apex right now, the dressing is a bracing Worcestershire-cane vinaigrette, while the seasonal fruit salad with baby greens, roasted pecans and citrus-honey vinaigrette skews sweeter.
Chophouse New Orleans: The key to a killer steak salad at this quintessential steakhouse is in the dressing. The namesake chophouse salad, loaded up with lettuce, tomato, bacon and blue cheese crumbles, gets taken to another level entirely with imported blue cheese and a spicy French dressing, which adds unexpected color, creaminess and mild heat.
Desi Vega’s: Here’s something to wrap your head around: the house salad at Desi Vega’s has a vinaigrette made from Mandarin orange, fig and Grey Goose vodka. That should tip you off that this isn’t your typical salad. Other options are a bit more subdued, but keep things fresh and vibrant with ingredients like fresh buffalo mozzarella, pears, sherry-tarragon vinaigrette, baby spinach and plump grape tomatoes.
Crescent City Steaks: Sometimes, the best kind of salad is the one that doesn’t even seem or taste like one. Like the particularly meaty Caesar served at this homey outpost. In addition to the more classic version, Caesar salad at Crescent City can be ordered topped with steak tenders, which lend a luscious, smoky chew and blend in nicely with the creamy, zesty dressing and anchovies. For something a bit fresher and lighter, there’s always the grilled shrimp salad, served with chopped iceberg lettuce, black olives, tomatoes and shredded carrots.
Steak Knife Restaurant: If you’re gonna eat one salad in New Orleans, make it the crab meat version served at Steak Knife. Although, honestly, the word “salad” is applied loosely here, as this is really more of a seafood showcase than anything. Louisiana jumbo lump crabmeat is the star of the plate, served on a bed of Boston lettuce and sauced with a tangy vinaigrette dressing. It’s joined on the menu by a Caesar salad, iceberg wedge and the “Seraphine” salad, which consists of half an avocado stuffed with marinated hearts of palm and artichoke on mixed greens and topped with asparagus, red onion and vinaigrette.