A competition for the Valley’s yummiest chopped salad
We asked four popular eateries to put their most popular chopped salad to the test. Our discriminating judges: all bona fide salad lovers—women who like to crunch when they lunch. Each salad was rated on a scale of 1 to 10.
EMILIO’S TRATTORIA, THE CHOPPED SALAD
Having been owned at one time by Beverly Hills’ La Scala Presto, it is no surprise that Emilio’s chopped salad is one of the Italian eatery’s most popular entrees. Despite the charge for add-ons like tomatoes, Emilio’s traditional chopped salad (available with salami or turkey) was the unanimous victor.
PR: It’s not fancy but highlights the ingredients. Super-clean and well-chopped. Veggies are fresh, but the lettuce could be a little crisper. Love the red wine vinaigrette dressing.
KS: Needs more color (it doesn’t look particularly special), but it tastes really good. The turkey and the cheese mix nicely together.
JS: Delicious, simple and fresh. There’s lots of crunch and a generous amount of turkey and cheese. I really like the dressing—not too thick and a little tangy.
16234 Ventura Blvd., Encino, emiliostrattoria.net
IL TRAMEZZINO, IL TRAM CHOPPED
All of the judges were impressed with this colorful salad, but it lost points on the dressing.
PR: Nice presentation. Looks fresh, and you can see all of the ingredients; the tomatoes add nice color. Dressing is much too thick.
KS: Colorful and plentiful. The veggies are fresh, and I really like the avocado and pepperoncini. Not a fan of the dressing.
JS: I like how fresh it is, and the variety of vegetables– especially the avocado and pepperoncini. Don’t love the dressing; it’s too thick, and a bit of a strong balsamic flavor.
13031 Ventura Blvd, Studio City, 818-784-2244, iltram.net
ARTISAN CHEESE GALLERY, CHOPPED SALAD
This cheese shop/eatery’s version had some unique ingredients that our judges all enjoyed. Interestingly enough, there was no cheese in it!
PR: Enjoyed the pistachios, hearts of palm and avocado. Though I prefer when the lettuce is more finely chopped and I missed the garbanzo beans. Lemon dressing is delicious, but a bit too thick.
KS: A really colorful salad;looks appetizing and interesting. Very fresh—the lettuce is crisp, and the veggies and avocado are vibrant. It could use a little something to give it a little kick, like pepperoncini or cheese.
JS: The pistachios and hearts of palm are definitely a surprise that I really enjoyed. Dressing needs a little more zest to it. Would’ve liked the lettuce to be more chopped.
12023 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, 818-505-0207, artisancheesegallery-la.com
SWEET BUTTER, CHOPPED KALE SALAD
While the judges enjoyed Sweet Butter’s version and thought the presentation was appealing, they all noted that they would have preferred a more traditional lettuce for their chopped salad instead.
PR: Looks very fresh, but you have to really like kale. It’s a bit too dense for me. The dressing is not thick enough to adhere to the kale, so it doesn’t soak in and add enough flavor.
KS: The salad looks fancy with the kale—a healthier version of a traditional chopped. Veggies are crunchy and very fresh. I like the chicken best. Dressing needs more depth to it; it is too thin and balsamic-y.
JS: Prettiest presentation of them all, with lots of strong color and nice contrast. Don’t love the kale or red peppers. Dressing needs to be thicker.
13824 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks, 818-788-2832, sweetbutterkitchen.com
dineL.A. Restaurant Week returns July 18–31, 2016. Discover our top pick in eight different San Fernando Valley neighborhoods.