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Grilled Caesar Salad


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love me some Caesar Salad, but who in his right mind thinks it's a good idea to grill lettuce??? I didn't even finish it. Bizarre, and not in a good way.

This is not all that uncommon - maybe Michael can chime in? I'm almost certain I've had a similar dish at Grapeseed.

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This is not all that uncommon - maybe Michael can chime in? I'm almost certain I've had a similar dish at Grapeseed.

I recall having a similar dish in about 1998...in a small restaurant...in Fairfax. And not the good part.

A google search for the exact phrase "grilled Caesar salad" (i.e., ruling out "grilled chicken Caesar salad," etc.) comes up with 29,500 hits.

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I've prepared this at home a couple times and really liked the results.

Ditto -- grilling halved hearts of romaine can yield an excellent result. I first tried this after I had a grilled-romaine Caesar at 555 in Portland, which is one of my favorite restaurants; the smokiness went really well with their homemade dressing and croutons, and I liked replicating at home. I quite like this option in general; when done correctly, it can give some interest to an otherwise fairly straightforward (and so occasionally boring) salad.

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Siestema's First Bite:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/gog/bars-clubs/jack-rose-dining-saloon,1209257/critic-review.html

I'll be surprised if he does a full review in the Magazine, judging from this. Dame Edna and I went there for dinner last week and had some of the same things. I love me some Caesar Salad, but who in his right mind thinks it's a good idea to grill lettuce??? I didn't even finish it. Bizarre, and not in a good way. However, the skate I had was better than the skate I had at the Oval Room back in May. Really good. Dame Edna's sweetbreads were too salty and I thought had a strange texture, given the little bite that I got. He got the steak "Diane", which in no way resembled the classic dish, and ate every bite of a rather large steak. Thought it was pretty good.

Jack Rose is somewhat less expensive than Cashion's, our go to place for fine dining in AM, but the noise factor is just appalling. Given the inconsistencies in the kitchen, coupled with the noise, it won't likely be a place we frequent. I'll be interested to see how their basement "speakeasy" works out, whenever it opens.

I had a grilled Caesar in Chicago a few years ago that was fantastic. Could it have been at Blackbird?

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Ditto most of the above. I've grilled romaine hearts many times, topped variously with bacon, blue cheese, hard boiled egg and tomato....very nice.

Alternatively, I've grilled vegetables in my grill basket over the coals, and when the onions, peppers, mushrooms, etc., were near their perfect char, in went a good handful of chopped romaine for a few seconds. The resulting grilled salad makes a nice side dish for grilled meat.

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I had a grilled Caesar in Chicago a few years ago that was fantastic. Could it have been at Blackbird?

I had a grilled Caesar takeout at (dare I say) Galileo Laboratorio that was also outstanding. I bought it by accident, was disgusted when I opened it up and saw it was grilled, decided to eat it anyway, and loved it. Top 3 outside-the-box food experience for me.

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We've had Grilled Romaine on the menu at Grapeseed since 2000. I put it on because, well, I like grilled lettuce. Took it off for awhile and the customer led uprising (occupying) demanded it back. If you are not ready for the texture it might not work for you.

Thinking about grilled lettuce a bit more, it seems to be a dish that could be quite bitter if left unrestrained, and that's why it seems to cry out for something to cut through any potential over-char, like an acidic, eggy, cheesy Caesar dressing (as opposed to something butter-based) - the neutralizing effect being something like dipping buffalo wings in ranch dressing, or a pakora in raita.

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When I had the grilled romaine at Jack Rose, I thought it was done right - like someone who had paid attention to it on the grill.

It's easy to do wrong, but personally - not even just romaine - I love grilled lettuce. Gives a bit of bite to what can be a bland addition. (IMHO, YMMV, etc.)

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