Salads. They’re generally not that exciting, or satisfying. We’re hard pressed to think of a salad that has impressed us and left us feeling quite so sated as this one, which appeared on the always well edited menu at Frances in recent months. (Oh, except maybe this one.) Chef Melissa Perello serves crispy but tender duck confit, chopped in bite-size pieces, and tossed with baby kale in a sweet fennel-honey agrodolce dressing. But it doesn’t end there.
The duck is paired with chopped Medjool dates, which share a color and consistency with the duck, though they’re a little softer to the teeth. And then there’s a generous helping of crispy fried shallots — fried onions, much like the fried shoestring potatoes on this Txoko salad, make for a winning salad in our book.
The baby kale Perello uses is especially bright, tender, and flavorful, and makes a great contrast with the other flavors here, especially when its mild bitterness is matched with the sweetness of the dressing, the onions, and the dates.
We’ve mentioned before how consistently strong Perello’s small plates always are at this Michelin-starred neighborhood restaurant, but this is perhaps her best salad to date.
Earlier on Actually Pretty Awesome:
Green Garlic Bread at State Bird Provisions
Duck Fat Chex Mix at Truck Stop Café
The Lamb Tongue Salad at Txoko
The Branzino at AQ
Dinner at Local Mission Eatery
Suckling Pig Sandwich at Sweet Woodruff
Crudités at Saison
The Roasted Broccoli Sandwich at Split Pea Seduction
George Mendes’s Partridge in a Pear Tree
The Buffalo Burger at Double Decker
A Preview of Dishes at Haven
Alicia’s Tamales Los Mayas
The Cocktails at Outerlands
The Meatball Gigante and the Honey Pie at Tony’s Pizza
Three New Gins from St. George Spirits
The Date Night at Sneaky’s BBQ
Crab and Dumplings at Pican
The Fried-Chicken Sliders at The Lookout
The Tripe and the Pickles at Bar Tartine
A Dinner of Small Plates at Frances
Fried Chicken and Cornmeal Doughnuts at Beast & the Hare