Working across the street from Stephan Pyles can be dangerous. Not only is the dining room one of Downtown’s best places to explore new flavors, but in fair weather the patio beckons with its breeze, bar service, and sidelong view of our mini urban streetscape. It’s a place where even lunch can feel new again, which is exactly what happened when I ventured into Stephan’s salad menu — for the first time — last week.
For the record, I’m not one of those crunchy peckers who wear their dietary restraint as a badge of honor. I’m an eater, and I order as such. But with the coming holidays in mind, I decided to change my tune for a day, err on the side of prudence, and order (sigh) a salad.
The waiter’s enthusiasm alone should have forewarned me that the house smoked salmon on toasted chipotle brioche with green lentils, Upland cress and yogurt-dill dressing ($14) would permanently change how I think about salmon, and salads for that matter. The dish, a layered deck of lightly smoked salmon atop brioche and lentils was velvety, savory, and not a bit restrained.
Unfortunately, I’d downed the whole thing before realizing I should have taken a picture. I promise to do so next time. Until then, give it a try and tell me what you think. Especially you, crunchy peckers. Technically it’s still a salad, so feel free to live a little.