Monday, April 23, 2007

All Dressed Up

Whenever I’m looking for something healthy at a new restaurant, the first part of the menu I scan are the salads. It’s one of the few items where you can totally control what goes into your meal, and I’m all about customization. With this in mind I was happy to discover “The Dressing Room” in Sherman Oaks; a restaurant that puts a gourmet spin on the salad bar.

Entering you’re presented with two options: order one of their specialty salads where all the decisions are made for you, or take one of their salad checklists and select from all the possible ingredients. For $6.95 you choose a base lettuce, five toppings (each additional for .65 cents), a dressing from a very extensive list, and for an additional nominal fee any meat or seafood you can imagine. The price varies depending on what you choose. In the end you can decide on the bowl or if you want it wrapped. After exhausting all of your decision making capabilities, take your creation to the counter and away they go before you can say “crouton.”

For my salad I selected the mixed greens, avocado, mushroom buttons, broccoli, red and yellow bell peppers (this counts as one), and chopped tomatoes. The dressing was their low-fat honey mustard which I requested on the side, and I added blackened chicken for $1.95. If you like chicken you also have the option of rotisserie or grilled.

The salad master goes down the salad bar, putting all of their incredibly fresh looking ingredients into a bowl. Meanwhile, over at the visible grill another person tosses on a hearty piece of chicken. At the end of the salad line the contents of your bowl are dumped out onto a chopping block, and the salad master chops away with a mezzaluna (a large curved chopping blade). The colorful goodness goes back into a bowl, mixed with your dressing, topped with your piping hot protein, and served.

The salad tastes as fresh as it looks. Lettuce is no where near limp or wilted, each added ingredient has exactly the right consistency, and the blackened chicken has a bit of spice. Overall perfect and exactly what I wanted. The dressing only enhances things further, adding a honey mustard sweetness to the already great tasting salad.

“The Dressing Room” is where you go if you’re looking for a nutritious lunch for less then $10 in the valley. With everything made to order, and the tons of healthy options, it’s hard to go wrong. If you do, you only have yourself to blame.
The Dressing Room
14622 Ventura Blvd #103
Sherman Oaks, CA 91403
(818) 788-4882

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