Where to go to get the ones that’ll make you really, truly happy.
Salad is good for you, and we can probably all agree that, in general, salad is good (especially when it’s hot outside). But salad sometimes seems perfunctory — or, these days, sometimes seems like it’s trying too hard (can we enjoy our quinoa separately, please?). “Life-changing” is admittedly hyperbolic, but I do believe these five Seattle salads achieve saladness in extraordinary ways, and I think — I hope — they’ll make you as happy as they make me.
The Dungeness Crab Louie Wedge at the White Swan Public House/The 100 Pound Clam
Price: $18 (and completely worth it)
(1001 Fairview Ave. N., Seattle; 206-588-2680; whiteswanpublichouse.com; salad available at lunch only, 11:30 a.m.- 3 p.m. Monday-Saturday)
The sunshine glinting off Lake Union, all the pretty boats and a cold beer work their magic here, but the crab Louie is a beauty. Its carelessly lovely looks belie its thoughtful structure. Big wedges of super-crisp iceberg are obscured by a tangle of lightly lemony, thin-shaved asparagus (to be replaced by another seasonal vegetable soon, so hurry!). Whole pieces of cool Dungeness peek out promisingly, rather than showboating. Rounds of subtly peppery radish are gleefully scattered about. Two halves of not-too-hard-boiled egg look up sunnily from beside it all.
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Any concern about insufficient Louie sauce is eased by visible blobs off to the sides. Owner Dan Bugge (Matt’s in the Market, Radiator Whiskey) says there’s “nothing special about the dressing — we’re trying to keep it simple, being a fish shack.” (Ingredients: house-made mayo, ketchup, Worcester, dill pickles, Tabasco and salt.)
The freshness! The bounty! The crab, both lump and shreds! This beats the pants off the sad afterthought of a crab Louie you last had at an old-school fish house.
Note: This salad’s served at lunch only, but lunch segues seamlessly into happy hour, so why not play hooky? (Just don’t forget to forego Instagram, hard though that may be.) Find this place buried deep in the back of the same South Lake Union parking lot as I Love Sushi (which is still there!?). Confused about the names? The 100 Pound Clam is the deck/seafood shack, while the cool, dim, not-overly-nautical indoor restaurant goes by the name of The White Swan. Sunscreen’s available at the counter of the Clam, which,…