Crispy, Cheesy, Full-Flavored Salads in Metro Detroit

By: Toni Cunningham | April 30, 2014

I’m going to take a shot in the dark and say that in January, you were all about salads. A bed of fresh greens tossed with a light vinaigrette, crisp veggies, and perhaps a cup’s worth of lean grilled chicken or salmon. After a month of the same sad desk salad, you began to waiver. You might have even developed an eye twitch. You dreamed of fried food whether you were asleep or not, and you eventually snapped mid-February in the form of a bacon-cheeseburger-chili-cheese-fry-pitcher-of-beer binge sesh.

We’ve all been there. Well, maybe not that exact scenario, but typically, a large number of people begin to eat healthily at the beginning of the year, only to go back to his or her usual ways by the beginning of March at the latest. Really, the word “healthy” is subjective.

Just because something, say, a salad for instance, has lettuce and veggies in it, it is not automatically healthy. But is it dang delicious? You bet. Check out these “diet busting salads,” if you will, of Metro Detroit, that are perhaps not weight loss friendly items, but packed full of flavor. Lettuce take a gander at the options.

The Fly Trap, 22950 Woodward Ave., Ferndale, was once featured on an episode of Guy Fieri’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” and is always full of hungry diners. It’s likely several patrons are ordering the Ensalada de Basura, a salad that is basically a deconstructed Mexican dish. It contains black beans, avocado, tomato, cheddar cheese, tortilla strips, sour cream, avocado and honey vinaigrette. Oh yes, all of that is served over a bed of lettuce so it can be called a salad. It also goes by its other name of “fantastic.”

24Seconds, 3071 W. 12 Mile Rd., Berkley, is a bar and grill with one of the biggest salad stretches ever on its menu. The restaurant’s Caesar Salad is fit for two and is served over a plate of CHEESE BREAD. Yes, hidden underneath a pile of lettuce, cheese, croutons and Parmesan cheese lies what is essentially a pizza. This is my kind of salad! For an extra few bucks you can add chicken or salmon to the greens. Gotta get your protein, right?

Sagebrush Cantina, 28 S. Broadway St., Lake Orion, has been recommended to me as one of the best Mexican restaurants around, and by the sound of its Taco Salad and Fajita Taco Salad, it’s no wonder why. Note: any food item that comes in edible crockery is okay in my book. Both salads are served in a giant taco shell with beans, lettuce, cheese, tomato, red and green pepper, black olives, avocado, onion, sour cream and your choice of shredded beef or chicken (Taco Salad), or grilled marinated steak or chicken (Fajita Taco Salad).

National Coney Island has several locations around the Metro Detroit area because honestly, everyone loves Coney Island. While you might find it difficult to stray from your usual Coney dog or Hani, do so for the Crispy Chicken & Bacon Salad. This bad boy includes crispy chicken tenders, bacon bits, American cheese, hard-boiled egg and tomatoes over lettuce. It’s recommended with poppy seed dressing. Public service announcement, ya’ll: if a salad has “crispy” and “bacon” in the title, it’s likely not going to fall in line with your cotton ball diet.

Station 885, 885 Starkweather, Plymouth, is located right next to a set of train tracks, and if you consume the Classic Maurice Salad, your diet will disappear faster than a speeding locomotive. However, it will be worth every single delicious calorie-filled bite. This salad includes ham, smoked turkey, mozzarella cheese, black olives, tomatoes, sweet pickles, hard boiled egg and a bed of greens, drizzled with the restaurant’s own Maurice dressing.

Hogan’s Restaurant, 6450 Telegraph Rd., Bloomfield Hills, serves a Crispy Chicken & Pecan Salad, and typically one might assume that lean protein and nuts would be healthy, right? Not so fast. This salad contains beer battered chicken. Which is a mighty fine way to serve chicken, but it’s not exactly diet food. In addition to the beer battered chicken, the salad is composed of chèvre cheese, pecans, Michigan sun-dried cherries, roasted red peppers, Mandarin oranges, red onions and romaine lettuce, tossed with an oriental sesame seed dressing.

Redsmoke, 573 Monroe St., Detroit, is all about the barbecue, even when it comes to salad. The Memphis Cobb includes your choice of pulled pork, pulled chicken, grilled chicken or beef brisket served atop mixed greens with cucumber, tomato, carrots, radishes, cheddar cheese, hard boiled egg, roasted garlic and peppers. I don’t know about you, but a pulled pork salad sounds like a good way to convince myself that I’m eating well.

Aren’t these salads so much more exciting than plain ‘ol, regular salads with wilt-y lettuce and boring toppings? I thought so.