Lettuce: eat salad in Walnut Creek

by foodhoe on August 8, 2011

1632 Locust St, Walnut Creek, CA 94596 | 925.933.5600 | website | open for lunch & dinner

After my last couple of posts focusing on cheesy fried stuff, it’s time for something lighter…  Lettuce is a wonderful spot in downtown Walnut Creek that features produce from local farms and ranchers in a bustling busy space at the end of Locust Street.  The welcoming entrance is flanked by tall arches that open into the dining room and draws you in with fragrant floral arrangements and baskets of fresh produce.

The menu offers 16 made to order salads, 5 daily home made soups (including a seasonal gazpacho), 6 different salads, some sandwiches, and 3 daily home made pasta dishes.  You can enjoy a large plate of one item or create your own 1/2 and 1/2 combinations for around $11.

By the register are two icy pitchers of water, one is filled with slices of fresh fruit, the other has slices of cucumber and fresh mint.

The first time I came here, I was surprised to see a long line of office workers and ladies who lunch with perfectly coiffed hair.  It’s quite popular.  The brightly lit dining room is filled with a convivial atmosphere and the line moves along at a surprisingly brisk pace.  There is obviously a demand for healthy eats in the creek and places like this that present fresh local produce that is prepared for a palate that seeks to go beyond thousand island and ranch dressing are bound to excel.

Now onto the food…  The Caprice salad ($10.95), hearts of romaine topped with with poached shrimp, shredded tendrils of fresh mozzarella, chewy slices of Sun dried tomato, roasted pepper all tossed with a light basil Aioli.  I’m not a super picky eater, but there were too many roasted red peppers which I ended up picking out of the bowl. I’d order again, but must remember to ask for light on the roasted peppers.

I couldn’t resist ordering the C.E.O ($10.95), and enjoyed dining in style with a bowlful of tender baby lettuce topped with luscious slices of buttery smoked salmon.  The lettuce was tossed with slices of  English cucumber,  tomato, asparagus that were bathed in a vibrant dill vinaigrette and garnished with a scattering of capers and diced red onion, which was lip smacking good and had me rolling my eyes with pleasure.

I was particularly drawn to the salads featuring seafood.  This is the Pink Lady ($10.95), grilled salmon served over butter lettuce with slices of English cucumber, red onion, cherry tomato, tossed fresh dill vinaigrette.  The salmon was tender and moist and was more than I could possibly finish.  This was one of my favorite dishes.

I really enjoyed the combination of a Big Cobb and half Caprese Sandwich.  The half salad was a generous mound of butter lettuce, topped with chopped up apple bacon, avocado, tomato, red onion, eggs, blue cheese, grilled chicken, tossed with a bright fresh house dressing

The half sandwich was more like a 2/3 sandwich made of chewy soft rosemary flecked Acme focaccia surrounding slices of tomato, red onion and fresh mozzarella cheese, drizzled with balsamic vinegar and olive oil and shreds of basil.

This is my co-worker Chris’s half sandwich with soup combo.  A half New York – BLT, Acme focaccia filled with slices of apple bacon, ripe tomato, shredded romaine & herbed mayo, served with a cup of New England Corn Chowder made from chicken broth and potato.  He thought it was alright, but was still hungry.  But he is one of those tall skinny guys whose digestive systems contain a secret black hole and often eats lunch and then second lunch a few hours later…

A soup and salad combo with a cup of their famous Honey Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Green Apple and a NAPA Salad, made from organic spring mix with field berries, toasted sugar walnuts, grilled rosemary chicken, honey balsamic vinaigrette.  I was not a fan of the soup which was sweet, and  the berries in the salad with candied walnuts served with the sweet and sour dressing made for a disappointing meal.   I’m not sure what I was thinking because I generally don’t like fruit in salad, so must take the blame in misordering.

Here are some shots I took of other stuff they have.  Cheesy pasta…

a splendid seasonal fruit salad

elegant fruit tarts

Meringue topped fruit compote

I watched them serve this with an ice cream scoop…

So if you are in downtown Walnut Creek and tired of fresh choice, this is a good spot to check out.

Lettuce on Urbanspoon

 

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