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Fast-casual restaurants take kale upscale

Fast-casual restaurants take kale upscale

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At Boudin SF, Chicken Kale Caesar is a spring menu offering. Photo: Boudin SF

Kale might be one of the most patient vegetables in the world, waiting centuries to make its comeback. Until the Middle Ages, when cabbage knocked it out of first place, kale was the most widely eaten vegetable in Europe. But kale hung in there, and its persistence has paid off. The kale comeback continues on menus.

• At the fast-casual Boudin SF in San Francisco, limited-time spring salad offerings are globally inspired.  Joining Lemony Couscous ($9.59) and Chicken Banh Mi ($9.59) is the Chicken Kale Caesar ($8.59).  The salad incorporates chiffonade of Tuscan kale and romaine with all-natural diced chicken, grated Parmesan and creamy Caesar dressing. It’s garnished with sourdough garlic crisps.

• Meanwhile, in Chicago, chef Jessica Brumleve’s spring menu at Max’s Wine Dive offers Kale Caesar Salad with ciabatta croutons and shaved Parmesan.

• In NYC, James Beard Award-winning chef Marcus Samuelsson recently opened Streetbird Rotisserie, a 68-seat kitchenette in Harlem. The restaurant menu revolves around the signature rotisserie chicken, with side dishes that reflect Samuelsson’s multicultural background ranging from Ethiopia to Sweden. On the menu: The Fly Girl with black kale, romaine, green beans, toasted rice and lime-coconut dressing.

• In Washington DC, chef José Andrés’ ThinkFoodGroup has opened the vegetable-focused fast casual Beefsteak restaurant. Customized and composed bowls start at $7.99, including the Frida Kale. It’s a combination of rice, kale, black bean sauce and spicy tomato sauce, with scallions, corn nuts, pumpkin seeds, cherry tomatoes, cranberries and lemon honey dressing.

• P.F. Chang’s offers Kale & Quinoa Dip. Made with nonfat yogurt and flavored with shallots, garlic, cilantro and lemon juice, the dip comes with sesame-seasoned wonton crisps.

• At Barony Tavern in the Renaissance Charleston Historic District Hotel, SC, owner/executive chef Robert Carter’s menu features dressy American cuisine with a Southern influence. Menu items include Crispy Oysters with Kale Pesto and Smoked Bacon.

Contact Gail Bellamy at [email protected].


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