Salad Quest: South Side, Harrison Landing deliver big salads, flavors
Posted: 05/19/2013 at 6:00 pm
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The spinach salad at South Side Soda Shop, Goshen, is the same as it was when the restaurant opened 27 years ago. (Truth Photo By Marshall V. King)
The Caribbean Cobb salad at South Side Soda Shop, Goshen, includes shrimp, bleu cheese, mandarin oranges and pineapple on a bed of mixed greens. (Truth Photo By Marshall V. King)
The salmon salad at South Side Soda Shop includes steamed salmon on greens with cucumbers, strawberries, dried cranberries, walnuts and tomatoes. (Truth Photo By Marshall V. King)
Harrison Landing, Elkhart, has a chipotle steak salad on its menu that includes an 8-ounce sirloin a bed of romaine with other vegetables and a hard-boiled egg. (Truth Photo By Marshall V. King)
South Side Soda Shopís spinach salad hasnít changed much over the last 27 years.
It doesnít need to. Itís a fine salad.
When Guy Fieri came for ďDiners, Drive-Ins and Dives,Ē he didnít spend time on the salads.
But the restaurant sells a lot. Owner Nick Boyd said heís going through 60 to 70 pounds of mixed greens a week and another 40 to 50 pounds of spinach.
Nick and Charity Boydís restaurant gets deliveries several times a week to put in the salads for which they make most of the dressings. And a number of readers nominated them in the search for the best salad in Elkhart County.
The menu has an array of salads. The soda shop at 1122 S. Main St., Goshen, may be the first place I had beets in a salad. Thatís in the Greek salad ($6.25) that usually comes with capers and oil. Capers are the tart little berries that somehow work in a salad dressing.
Side salads come packed into a bowl with a few toppings, including croutons the restaurant makes.
A few years ago when Nick Boyd started serving seafood, he added a Caribbean Cobb salad and a salmon salad.
The Cobb has shrimp, pineapple, mandarin oranges, bleu cheese and avocado on mixed greens for $8.25. Itís one of the prettiest salads Iíve seen.
The shrimp were tender and perfectly cooked. The mix of fruits, cheese and avocado are nice.
I found a couple pieces of lettuce that were a tiny bit past their prime. And the salad would be greater with fresh rather than canned pineapple.
The salmon salad has steamed or poached salmon with bleu cheese, walnuts, cucumber, dried cranberries and sometimes strawberries. The salmon is good, but needed a bit more seasoning. And putting the pieces of hot fish on the greens wilted them. Iíd love to try to a version with cold salmon to see if the salad works as well.
The spinach salad was a revelation. The bowl full of spinach was topped with mushrooms, bacon, egg, tomato, croutons, green onions and parmesan. The ingredients were fresh and flavorful.
The key is the dressing that melds them and the hot bacon dressing was the best Iíve found.
Itís the recipe that Kathy Wise brought to the restaurant as an employee. ďShe kept that under lock and key,Ē Nick said.
Wise died in a car accident years ago and the Boyds approached her family members for the recipe. They granted it and we benefit from being able to taste the balanced blend of bacon, vinegar and sugar.
At $6.30, the salad is a remarkable deal. It doesnít have the range of flavor of those at Constant Spring, but itís very good.
South Side may yet become a finalist in Salad Quest, but thatís not yet assured. It won Pie Quest, the first Elkhart County best-of search I did. I still stand by the decision.
Even if South Side doesnít become a Salad Quest finalist, you should know that you can get some great salads here. (4 1/2 stars out of five)
For nearly 20 years, two attorneys have owned and operated Harrison Landing in downtown Elkhart.
Pat Whisler and Bill Lavery practice law upstairs at 600 S. Main St. and their employees serve food and drinks on the main floor.
The bar has a stable of regulars. And a menu full of good bar food.
The bar has been a spot to say goodbye to Truth newsroom people who head off to other ventures or mark the end of a long election night. And Iím a fan of the burgers and smothered steak sandwich that isnít so much a sandwich as a sirloin with a bunch of toppings and a piece of bread underneath.
A reader named Dani recommended the chipotle steak salad for Salad Quest. So as ArtWalk got underway Wednesday, I dug into the salad.
An 8-ounce sirloin is spiced and grilled and put on top of mixed greens with some black olives, red onion, tomato, cucumber, hard-boiled egg, croutons and cheese.
I got Cajun ranch dressing, since itís the one the kitchen tinkers with rather than just pours from a bottle. Iím not a fan of ranch, but the Cajun seasoning they add at Harrison Landing redeems it and makes it worth ordering if you like spice.
And the result was a spicy salad that made me sweat. This big, hearty $9.50 salad had some good things going on.
The greens were nice and I couldnít see a leaf of iceberg. The croutons werenít the tiny, dice-shaped ones from a bag, though they arenít made in-house either.
The chunks of steak had a ton of flavor, though they could have been a bit more tender. Sirloin isnít the tenderest cut, but I think this meat was a tad past medium.
Whisler gets the meat from Old Hoosier Meats in Middlebury. ďI like that guy a lot,Ē he said of owner Randy Grewe. And again, Iíd affirm a restaurant buying from a local supplier such as Old Hoosier.
This time of year, about 20 percent of the barís sales are one of the four salads on the menu. The grilled chicken salad for $8.50 is the most popular. The burgers are selling well too, with good reason.
The salad was better than average. It could have been better with a steak that had been cooked to be more tender, but it was good. (3 1/2 out of five stars)
The search for the best salad you can buy continues.
Iím hungry. Letís eat.
Marshall V. King is news/multimedia editor and food columnist for The Elkhart Truth. You can reach him at email@example.com, 574-296-5805, on Twitter @hungrymarshall or via the [URL]Dining A La King Facebook page;http://facebook.com/diningalaking[URL].[/URL]