After a seemingly never-ending winter, spring has finally arrived in Philadelphia. The long cold months are behind us, and most people are eager to embrace the season and swap out those meals of hearty soups and heavy comfort foods for lighter, fresh alternatives. Enter the spring salad. It’s the perfect appetizer, or you can add chicken or another form of protein and make it a meal. CBS previously brought you a list of top summer salads, and here’s your top spots for spring salads in Philadelphia this year.
Farm & Fisherman Tavern + Market
1442 Marlton Pike E.
Cherry Hill, NJ 08034
A spinoff of the Farm & Fisherman BYOB in Washington Square West, the Farm & Fisherman Tavern + Market is the second restaurant to come from Josh and Colleen Lawler. This Cherry Hill spot is significantly larger, seating 150 guests, and features a full market in addition to the tavern. While the locale is different, the dedication to local ingredients and plenty of fresh, health-conscious dishes remains. As far as spring salads go, Chefs Josh Lawler and Todd Fuller’s bloody beet salad ($11) is a standout favorite. Simple ingredients such as yogurt, pistachio and field greens are combined with fresh beets and pan drippings to create a salad with a pleasing mixture of textures and flavors.
The Fat Ham
3131 Walnut St.
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Chef Kevin Sbraga, winner of Bravo’s “Top Chef” seventh season, has opened his second Philadelphia restaurant. Following the aptly named Sbraga in Center City, The Fat Ham opened in University City in late fall 2013 offering Southern-inspired small plates and cocktails. Visit with a small group and order a bit of everything. Sharing is encouraged. Alongside richer dishes like baked mac and cheese with a barbecue potato chip crust and the famous spicy hot chicken, the mustard greens ($8) is a great dish to mix in. The potentially bitter mustard greens are perfectly matched with a hot vinegar dressing, peanuts and sesame seeds for a light, refreshing salad.
Indeblue Indian Cuisine Restaurant & Bar
205 S. 13th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Following the Indeblue BYOB location in Collingswood, NJ, this Midtown Village spot offers a full bar with an extensive beer, wine and cocktail selection. With a menu showcasing classic dishes as well as modern twists on Indian cuisine, Indeblue prides itself on the use of local produce, fresh meats and housemade breads and cheese. The crispy spinach chaat ($8) is a favorite appetizer. Baby spinach is tossed with diced tomatoes and shallots, and gets a hint of sweetness from yogurt and tangy tamarind date chutney. Visit during happy hour from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. to enjoy this salad for a discounted price of $4. Like most of the menu, it’s available as vegan upon request.
1234 Locust St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Little Nonna’s is the newest restaurant from Chef Marcie Turney and Valerie Safran, the entrepreneurs behind the popular Lolita, Barbuzzo and Jamonera. After opening in the fall of 2013, the cozy Midtown Village spot has already impressed guests with its classic Italian dishes featuring unexpected twists. The pork, veal and beef meatballs atop homemade polenta are a standout favorite, but if you want something lighter, opt for the grilled fish or seared chicken. Start with the shaved salad ($8) as an appetizer. Brussels sprouts, celery root, fennel and radish are composed in a slaw-like salad dressed with lemon and olive oil and garnished with parsley and locatelli. The delightful salad proves that simple dishes combined in just the right way can be magnificent.
1516 South St.
Philadelphia, PA 19146
The husband-and-wife duo of Evan Malone and Jill Weber bring you REX 1516, a small restaurant and bar on South Street with plenty of Southern charm. As we transition to warmer days, the frisee salad ($10) is a perfect option. Enjoy it as an appetizer, or add grilled chicken or shrimp ($3) for a light dinner. The salad is composed of chicory greens, thin bits of bacon, shaved pears and candied peanuts and tossed with mustard vinaigrette. Warm cornbread with charred goat cheese adds a little extra Southern flair. The result is a dish that’s both savory and fresh.
Michelle Hein is the social media editor for a women’s fashion company in Bucks County by day and a self-proclaimed food and drink fanatic by night and weekend. She enjoys attending wine classes, trying new recipes in the kitchen and going to old favorites and new restaurants alike in the Bucks County and Philadelphia area. If the writing gig doesn’t pan out, she constantly dreams of owning her own bakery…perhaps connected to the restaurant/bar that her lawyer fiance would love to open.
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