August 27, 2001
Salad Dressings that Just Don't Cut It
I often wonder why bottled salad dressings available at the grocery store are not nearly as good as those in restaurants, even inexpensive chain restaurants. There are so many kinds at the store, and I look at them and think some must be good. Some are certainly passable, like Newman's Own Caesar, which is tasty, if quite fattening, and Wishbone fat-free French. I tried the Emeril Legasse brand balsalmic vinaigrette, and I was really disappointed. It was overpowering and way too thick. None of the creamy Italian dressings are any good, of the ones I've tried, and while it's hard to mess up regular Italian dressing, none are really what I'd call outstanding.
The dressings in restaurants that I consider worth going for are:
- Southwest Honey at Marketplace Grill in Springdale, AR
- Balsalmic dressing on the greek salad at the Brick Oven in Richardson, TX
- House Vinaigrette at Texas Land and Cattle steakhouse across Texas
- House dressing at Pranzo Italian Grill in Plano, TX
There are plenty of dressings at restaurants that don't meaure up, either. For instance, always ask for dressing on the side at TGI Friday's because they use bottled dressing and they drown the poor salad. At Red Lobster, they don't use enough dressing, also bottled, so you might want to ask for it on the side there too. For an Italian restaurant, the Olive Garden is disappointing all around, but especially on their "unlimited salad" which is somewhere between Italian and Caesar and isn't a very good example of either. The Tangy Tomato at Outback Steakhouse is very good, but I'm not sure anyone goes to that place just for the salad. There's a chain here called Souper Salad that is basically a big salad and soup buffet, and they have lots of dressings. None are bad, but none are really terrific either, so they get a PFFT! for not being able to even have a really good dressing that I don't get tired of.
If anyone happens to know of any good salad dressings available at a store - any store - please let me know, I'll be grateful. I could try making them at home, but I'm not sure how that would turn out!
Published: August 27, 2001