I've said before that I could eat nothing but salad every day for a year. And I don't think that's too much of a stretch.
Of course, my kind of a salad goes way beyond just lettuce to include things like curry tofu salads and chickpea salads and bread salads (panzanella) and grain salads, and everything in between. So maybe that's cheating?
So, when my salad cravings get the best of me (and there's no Sweet Tomatoes in sight), I head to my favorite local salad bar (besides the one at the Willy St. Co-op, which doesn't totally count because you pay by the weight): The Dayton Street Grille (formerly known as the Dayton Street Cafe).
The Dayton Street Grille is inconspicuously located in the lobby of the Madison Concourse Hotel, just off of State Street. The typical crowd for lunch tends to run toward the professional class, with lots of high heels and neckties, but that doesn't make this place any less comfortable or delicious.
I hear that their dinner menu is actually wonderful, with a focus on local ingredients, created by their chef Charles Lazzareschi. But because I love the salad bar so much, at because it's only available at lunch, that's when I head to Dayton Street.
Although there's also a regular lunch menu, which looks promising, the long bar of fresh vegetables and greens, prepared salads (which change on a daily basis), five different soups (my favorite combo is a mix of the tomato basil and vegan bean soups--but there's also usually a chicken-portabella-spinach soup, a Wisconsin beer cheese soup, and a chili), fresh breads and croissants, a mix of cheeses, fruits, and impressive desserts keep me going to the salad bar, again and again. And it's all for only around $8.
A few extras:
- If you do decide to order off the menu, you can add the salad bar to any entree for only $3 (though you'll end up with way more food than needed!)
- They have a frequent customer punchcard, which entitles you to a free lunch after 10 meals (and if you ask nicely, the waiters will often put more than one person's punch on the same card).
- Monday is double-punch day.
- On Fridays, there's a free full dessert bar that is included in the cost of the salad bar. Everyday, there are at least an assortment of fresh-baked cookies and some sort of trifle, but Friday holds a huge array of cakes and pies and bars and cookies. Mmm...
See all my "Restaurant Week" posts: Vientiane, Maharani, Fugu, Lao Laan Xang, Dayton Street Grille