The Era of the $44 Salad Has Arrived

Romaine lettuce with cheese and croutons.
Bourbon Steak’s $20 Caesar salad, pictured, rises to $44 when topped with skirt steak. | Avablu Photography

Salad prices are surging in D.C. dining rooms and beyond

Bourbon Steak Lounge is one of my favorite places in D.C. — the excellent cocktails, the terrific burgers, the proximity to the Kennedy Center, the always-amusing people-watching potential (it’s in the Four Seasons, so you’re going to end up with some interesting characters there, even if “interesting” can sometimes be a euphemism for “entitled”). I have no illusions I’m heading in there for a bargain — even if the lounge menu is ostensibly less expensive than the restaurant’s, it’s still a place offering a $38 shrimp cocktail, a drink menu without listed prices, and burgers sans fries that topped $20 before such a price became de rigeur in D.C.

But one item I noticed on the menu a few weeks ago still gave me pause in this era of escalating food prices — a $44 Caesar salad.

Jennifer Chase Photography
Bourbon Steak just ramped up its salad selection with a new endive ($22) featuring Fuji apples, Stilton cheese, spiced walnuts, and cider vinaigrette.

There are some caveats here — the salad only hits that price when topped with skirt steak, which garners a $24 surcharge (change your meat of choice to chicken, and the price drops $6). But when each of the salads available on the menu have a baseline price of $19-22 (including a mixed greens option including…vinaigrette and shaved carrots), you’re looking at a minimum of $35 for any salad featuring protein (mixed greens + salmon).

Supplemental charges for adding protein to a salad are nothing new (even at a diner you’re paying more if you throw chicken on your Greek salad, but my totals still have hovered under $20 on recent Jersey trips). Bourbon Steak’s is the priciest I’ve personally encountered, but my colleague Tierney points me in the direction of the newish Milk & Honey at the Wharf, where a Cobb with shrimp or crab tops out at $32, with lobster driving the price to $54(!). At the Capital Grille, the power dining chain with a downtown D.C. location, all entree-sized lunch and dinner salads start at $30. The steepest ($38) features citrus vinaigrette-tossed chilled Maine lobster over arugula and avocado; meanwhile, a lobster Cobb at BLT Steak downtown commands $32.

Milk & Honey
Milk & Honey’s $32 Cobb salad with shrimp and crab arrives on a bed of spinach with green goddess dressing.

It’s hard to know where to draw the line. The $21 chicken paillard served with shaved vegetables and frisee at D.C.’s Le Diplomate has never struck me as unreasonably priced (their salad nicoise, it should be noted, is $28), and similarly in NYC, the $23 chicken Cobb at NY’s Veselka doesn’t feel outrageous to me. But I found myself shying away from adding crispy chicken to a wedge salad when at NY’s Golden Diner recently, which would have added a $10 charge (and bumped the total to $27).

At a certain point, all of this starts to feel relative — I don’t end up at fast-casual salad purveyors like Sweetgreen or Chop’t all that often, but customize an item or two, and your total is probably creeping towards $20. But that’s still less than half the price of that $44 Caesar.

Would the price tag have felt worth it, given the lounge’s festive atmosphere and the fact it would have likely been a great salad? I can’t actually say. When faced with the total, I found myself gravitating away from fresh vegetables, and just ordering myself a fancy wagyu burger and the trio of seasoned fries. Delicious — though still $39, so hardly a bargain. Maybe if I’m feeling less than spendy and still want some roughage, I just need to learn to enjoy my beautifully dressed greens without a big hunk of meat thrown on top of them.

This content was originally published here.

Can't Get enough Freebie, Subscribe

We will send you the latest digital Marketing technology and methods that should help you grow your business.

Custom Keto Diet


All day slimming tea


ikaria Juice


Apple Cider Vinegar Ebook Membership

More Articles