There’s no nicer meal on a sweltering day than a killer chilled salad with fresh local ingredients. Take advantage of summer’s bounty at one of these five cool spots.
1. The farmer’s salad at L’Olivier (240 Westheimer Rd., 713.360.6313) is so very French with its baby mixed greens, croutons, crispy bacon bits and poached egg on top. The salads aren’t massive—also a French trait—but there are many to choose, like the goat cheese salad, warm green bean and duck, or lobster salad (oh my!) with lemon vinaigrette.
2. Shrimp lovers should hook up at Local Foods (2424 Dunstan Rd., 713.521.7800) for a generous toss of arugula, wheatberries, shaved Pecorino, glazed Texas pecans and chilled boiled shrimp in lemon-thyme vinaigrette. Yes, yes, yes!
3. Ahhh, Lucille’s (5512 La Branch St., 713.568.2505) sports a sumptuous watermelon salad—so cool and refreshing in a large modern bowl. Sweet firm watermelon cubes are laced with arugula, crispy red onion slivers, toasted pistachios and crumbled feta.
4. Triniti (2815 S. Shepherd Dr., 713.527.9090) has dreamed up several robust combos: Tomato with walnut crumble and blue cheese panna cotta; asparagus and carrots with pork belly, fried egg and frisee in tarragon vinaigrette; or chopped bibb salad with heavenly gorgonzola, ham, chicken breast and mixed pickle.
5. West side Union Kitchen (12538 Memorial Dr., 713.360.2000) impresses with artistic salads like the farmers market one composed of a long ribbon of cucumber which makes a “bowl” for mixed greens, fresh herbs, sweet carrot strips, pecans and goat cheese. The tri-colored roasted beet salad with red wine reduction and basil oil is also hard to beat.