Hearty Salads of Metro Detroit

By: Amber Ogden | April 28, 2015

Salads can either be boring or exciting, healthy or… not. When you think “salad,” it’s only natural to assume that what you’re eating is healthy, but that’s not always the case. While a fresh bed of crisp lettuce, vegetables and light dressing is a healthy lunch or starter to your dinner, add a few crispy fried chicken strips and it becomes a hearty entrée.

When you’ve decided to skip the healthy salad for the day and crave something a little more substantial, go ahead and try one of these establishments in the D for a salad that will stick to your ribs:

Union Woodshop, 18 S. Main St., Clarkston, is known for its out-of-this-world macaroni and cheese, and if you make the trip here, I won’t fault you for going for it. However, also keep in mind the Smoked Chicken Salsa Salad (with chopped house-smoked chicken, mixed greens, tortilla strips, house-picked chilies and red onions, served with a side of salsa and sour cream).

The Cherry Pork Salad (romaine lettuce topped with house-smoked pulled pork, dried Michigan cherries and crispy fried onions served with honey mustard dressing) and Smoked Shrimp Salad (mixed greens tossed with black beans, sweet corn, red onions, smoked shrimp and crispy tortilla strips, served with roasted tomatillo and cilantro vinaigrette) should not be overlooked, either. You’ll never look at a salad the same way again.

Tios Mexican Café, 401 E. Liberty, Ann Arbor, is home to Mount Nacheesmo, but we’ll save that challenge for another day. For now, try one of the restaurant’s tasty salads, including the Fajita Chicken Salad (grilled fajita chicken with mixed greens, tomato, green pepper, onion, cucumber and crispy tortilla strips).

Other choices include Taco Salad (iceberg lettuce with cheese, tomato, onion, green pepper and black olives on a bed of crushed tortilla chips with your choice of meat), Jamaican Jerk Chicken Salad (iceberg lettuce topped with grilled jerk chicken, cheese, tomato, onion, green pepper, cucumber and avocado in a fried tortilla bowl) and Black and Bleu Cobb (romaine lettuce topped with hard boiled egg, cilantro, tomato, onion, bleu cheese, bacon, steak and avocado).

Bucharest Grill, 2040 Park Ave., Detroit, has already won most of us Metro Detroiters over with its Chicken Shawarma sandwich (and if you’re me, the falafel as well). There are some great salads on the menu to choose from, including one that you may not find many other places: the Meatball Salad, made with ground beef, chicken and spices, served atop a fresh bed of lettuce.

Also try the Chicken Shawarma Salad (with tomato, onions, cucumbers, peppers and pita chips) or Steak Salad (rib-eye steak served over lettuce with tomato, onions, cucumbers, peppers and pita chips).

Rocky’s Rotisserie, 37337 6 Mile Rd., Livonia, makes some excellent rotisserie chicken and side dishes, but if you’re looking to incorporate at least a few more veggies into your meal, try a salad!

The Pecan Encrusted Chicken Salad is topped with mandarin oranges, dried tart cherries and red onion and is served with a honey mustard dressing. Another option is Mom’s Crispy Chicken Strip Salad, which is mixed with cheddar cheese, bacon, croutons, red onion and cucumber, then topped with ranch dressing.

Basement Burger Bar, with locations in Farmington Hills and Canton, still has my heart for one of my favorite burgers in the Metro Detroit area. While you may not be aware, you can build your own salad here, and top your spring mix or romaine lettuce with beef, bison, Kobe, turkey or grilled chicken (as well as a plethora of fixin’s).

You can also choose from a selection of salads, including the Basement Burger Salad, which consists of romaine lettuce topped with a ground beef patty, grilled mushrooms, tomato, pickles, bacon, green olives, sunflower seeds, crispy onion straws and shredded cheese. This eating your greens thing isn’t so bad, is it?

Town Tavern, 116 W. 4th St., Royal Oak, is a contemporary tavern with plenty of great choices on the menu. The lunch and dinner menus both feature small and large salads, including a Buffalo Shrimp Caesar Salad that falls under the latter category.

Also consider the Steak Salad with walnuts, bleu cheese, red onions and balsamic vinaigrette, or the Pulled Chicken Salad with cranberries, wild rice, almonds, crispy wontons and maple mustard vinaigrette.

Hermann’s Olde Town Grille, 195 W. Liberty St., Plymouth, has nearly a dozen salads on its menu, which is quite impressive for a bar and grill. Try the Chicken Tender Salad (mixed greens topped with tomato, cucumber, bacon, shredded Cheddar Jack cheese and chicken tenders, served with ranch dressing) or BBQ Chopped Salad (barbecue grilled chicken atop mixed greens, tomato, black beans, green onions, shredded cheese and tortilla strips, with chipotle ranch dressing).

As long as you only over-indulge in a hearty salad once in a blue moon (and stick with the light version on a regular basis), there’s no reason to worry. Enjoy your hearty salad today, and maybe do a few extra reps tomorrow.