Best House Salad - 2008
House salads ain't rocket science, yet they're so often afterthoughts—a loose bit of greens and garden things to fill a menu slot with no sense of the house in them. Chef Brian Olenjack takes the house part of the name seriously, making sure a good dose of personality goes into every bowl. It's a simple salad in a curvaceous metal bowl, a nest of greens batted down in tomato vinaigrette, slices of grape tomato and fragments of candied pecans. Elements strike a balanced pose and pique with such uncommon precision, it behaves like an aperitif, the starter equivalent of Manzanilla sherry. And that goes down good.