The Period of the $44 Salad Has Arrived

Bourbon Steak Lounge is one among my favourite locations in D.C. — the wonderful cocktails, the terrific burgers, the proximity to the Kennedy Middle, the always-amusing people-watching potential (it’s within the 4 Seasons, so that you’re going to finish up with some fascinating characters there, even when “fascinating” can typically be a euphemism for “entitled”). I’ve no illusions I’m heading in there for a discount — even when the lounge menu is ostensibly cheaper than the restaurant’s, it’s nonetheless a spot providing a $38 shrimp cocktail, a drink menu with out listed costs, and burgers sans fries that topped $20 earlier than such a worth turned de rigeur in D.C.

However one merchandise I seen on the menu a number of weeks in the past nonetheless gave me pause on this period of escalating meals costs — a $44 Caesar salad.

Bourbon Steak simply ramped up its salad choice with a brand new endive ($22) that includes Fuji apples, Stilton cheese, spiced walnuts, and cider French dressing.
Jennifer Chase Pictures

There are some caveats right here — the salad solely hits that worth when topped with skirt steak, which garners a $24 surcharge (change your meat of option to hen, and the value drops $6). However when every of the salads obtainable on the menu have a baseline worth of $19-22 (together with a blended greens choice together with…French dressing and shaved carrots), you’re taking a look at a minimal of $35 for any salad that includes protein (blended greens + salmon).

Supplemental costs for including protein to a salad are nothing new (even at a diner you’re paying extra in case you throw hen in your Greek salad, however my totals nonetheless have hovered underneath $20 on latest Jersey journeys). Bourbon Steak’s is the priciest I’ve personally encountered, however my colleague Tierney factors me within the course of the newish Milk & Honey on the Wharf, the place a Cobb with shrimp or crab tops out at $32, with lobster driving the value to $54(!). At the Capital Grille, the ability eating chain with a downtown D.C. location, all entree-sized lunch and dinner salads begin at $30. The steepest ($38) options citrus vinaigrette-tossed chilled Maine lobster over arugula and avocado; in the meantime, a lobster Cobb at BLT Steak downtown instructions $32.

Milk & Honey’s $32 Cobb salad with shrimp and crab arrives on a mattress of spinach with inexperienced goddess dressing.
Milk & Honey

It’s exhausting to know the place to attract the road. The $21 hen paillard served with shaved greens and frisee at D.C.’s Le Diplomate has by no means struck me as unreasonably priced (their salad nicoise, it must be famous, is $28), and equally in NYC, the $23 hen Cobb at NY’s Veselka doesn’t really feel outrageous to me. However I discovered myself shying away from including crispy hen to a wedge salad when at NY’s Golden Diner just lately, which might have added a $10 cost (and bumped the overall to $27).

At a sure level, all of this begins to really feel relative — I don’t find yourself at fast-casual salad purveyors like Sweetgreen or Chop’t all that always, however customise an merchandise or two, and your complete might be creeping in direction of $20. However that’s nonetheless lower than half the value of that $44 Caesar.

Would the value tag have felt value it, given the lounge’s festive ambiance and the actual fact it might have probably been a terrific salad? I can’t truly say. When confronted with the overall, I discovered myself gravitating away from contemporary greens, and simply ordering myself a elaborate wagyu burger and the trio of seasoned fries. Scrumptious — although nonetheless $39, so hardly a discount. Possibly if I’m feeling lower than spendy and nonetheless need some roughage, I simply have to be taught to take pleasure in my superbly dressed greens with out a massive hunk of meat thrown on high of them.

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