Crushed Red – Getting Chopped Salad Religion
When PB suggested we run to Crushed Red in Clayton for lunch one day, I reacted with a rousing “meh, ok.” Casual quick salad and pizza fare? Well, alright. That’s fine. I didn’t want to go anywhere fun either.
Man. The benefit of ambivalent, if not low, expectations. I apologize, Crushed Red, for my initial dismissiveness – basic concept, yet stellar execution. I’ve been a repeat customer half-a-dozen times just in the last few weeks.
I’m not going to focus on the restaurant’s pizza though. (1) It’s your basic pizza. Oblong and flat-bread-ish. Lots o’ fresh toppings and a puffy crust that – while it’s not my cup of tea – is nothing to gripe about. (2) I just haven’t had it enough. Why? Because I’ve been going bananas on their salads.
Crushed Red has a bevy of chopped salad options, from which you select and wait for cafeteria style while the cooks toss and chop their little hearts out. Chopped salad – where have you been all my life?! I mean, I’m quite certain I’ve had one before – this is not an earth shattering idea. But have I, really? Because I’m sure I would have taken note about each bite being a flavor bomb of the individual salad components. I may be making good faith effort to be healthy by eating a salad, but don’t get it twisted, I’m lazy. Sure an artful array of seared tuna, green beans, and potatoes on top a bed of greens is pleasing to the eye, yet in my heart of hearts, I just want a tasty hash o’veggies.
My enthusiasm is probably due to the fact that the array of pre-selected combinations are solid enough that even my picky, bossy self has yet to be tempted to ‘build my own’ combo. Soo many chopped options! Favorites: Cowpoke Smoke (roasted sirloin steak, roma tomato, red onion, blue cheese, & crispy jalapeno straws with mixed field greens, goddess dressing) and South of the Border (avocado, roma tomato, roasted corn, cheddar cheese, & tortilla strips with mixed field greens, low fat chipotle ranch). Salads come in three sizes (medium shown below). I have found that the mini is an ample amount of food, even when ravenous. Oh, and did I mention the price is right? Minis top out at five bucks.
So, pick up a salad (or pizza) to go, or order and take a seat. And either way (on a slightly random note) grab yourself a big spoonful of ROASTED GARLIC that they keep in a GALLON JUG by the pizza fixins. Oh man. Like. Candy.