Marshall V. King
South Side Soda Shop’s spinach salad hasn’t changed much over the last 27 years.
It doesn’t need to. It’s a fine salad.
When Guy Fieri came for “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” he didn’t spend time on the salads.
But the restaurant sells a lot. Owner Nick Boyd said he’s going through 60 to 70 pounds of mixed greens a week and another 40 to 50 pounds of spinach.
Nick and Charity Boyd’s 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. That’s 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. It’s one of the prettiest salads I’ve 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. I’d 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 I’ve found.
It’s the recipe that Kathy Wise brought to the restaurant as an employee. “She kept that under lock and key,” 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 doesn’t have the range of flavor of those at Constant Spring, but it’s very good.
South Side may yet become a finalist in Salad Quest, but that’s 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 doesn’t 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 I’m a fan of the burgers and smothered steak sandwich that isn’t 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 it’s the one the kitchen tinkers with rather than just pours from a bottle. I’m 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 couldn’t see a leaf of iceberg. The croutons weren’t the tiny, dice-shaped ones from a bag, though they aren’t made in-house either.
The chunks of steak had a ton of flavor, though they could have been a bit more tender. Sirloin isn’t the tenderest cut, but I think this meat was a tad past medium.
Whisler gets the meat from Old Hoosier Meats in Middlebury. “I like that guy a lot,” he said of owner Randy Grewe. And again, I’d affirm a restaurant buying from a local supplier such as Old Hoosier.
This time of year, about 20 percent of the bar’s 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.
I’m hungry. Let’s eat.
Marshall V. King is news/multimedia editor and food columnist for The Elkhart Truth. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org, 574-296-5805, on Twitter @hungrymarshall or via the [URL]Dining A La King Facebook page;http://facebook.com/diningalaking[URL].[/URL]