Going Green With Dallas's Top Chefs At the 18th Annual Caesar Salad Competition

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Chefs from 10 of the top kitchens in Dallas vied for top honors in the Sunday night's Caesar salad competition, vying for diners' votes with salads dressed up with merguez sausage, scallop ceviche or brisket tacos, or restyled as carrot-wrapped salad sticks, romaine gazpacho topped with Caesar sorbet, or stuffed inside Bugles-shaped parmesan crisps.

By the time the silent auction closed, the cooks' "tossed salad" jokes wore out, and the diners' votes were tallied, it was JW Foster, from Pyramid at the Fairmont Hotel, who claimed the night's top honors. His salad, accompanied by a miniature brisket taco, won over the crowd with its vegetables picked from the Fairmont's rooftop garden.

Daniel Nemec at Kirby's Steakhouse took second place, and Eric Dreyer at Fearing's finished third, as Teresa Gubbins writes in her recap of the competition. (For another look at the scene, check out Nathan Hunsinger's Morning News video from the dinner.)

After the jump, though, we hand out our own awards to each of the night's entries--which is an awful lot like being right there in the Sheraton ballroom, only without tasting the salads, schmoozing your table-mates or drunkenly bidding on the custom Toyota Venza parked in the foyer.

Meatiest Salad
Eric Brandt
Rosewood Mansion At Turtle Creek

The Mansion's offering is how you make a meal out of salad-tasting night: big chunks of house-made merguez--"lots of garlic, lots of oregano," Brandt says--topped with a cilantro-lime relish. On the Dude Food scale, we'd peg this salad beyond "Brutus," closer to "That tall guy it the Romans needed 15 arrows to take out at the end of Gladiator."

Most Likely Fourthmeal
JW Foster
Pyramid Restaurant & Bar at the Fairmont Hotel

Foster's winning salad with cayenne-spiced croutons came accompanied by a mesquite-smoked brisket taco topped with roasted tomato and fresh jalapeño salsa and chipotle-lime aioli. Vegetables came from the Fairmont's rooftop garden, so, as Foster put it, "this whole meal came from less than two miles away."

Salad Most Likely To Be Described As Such With Air-Quotes
Anthony Bombaci

The gutsiest salad concoction of the night was Bombaci's shrimp-in-a-cup--more properly, shrimp al ajillo set in a romaine-anchovy gazpacho, topped with a dollop of Caesar dressing sorbet and grana padano wafer.

Classiest Caesar
Tracy Miller

Miller prepared a traditional Caesar with a focus on quality ingredients, she said, with white anchovy dressing and paired with poached lobster with Meyer lemon butter.

Biggest Edible Salad Bowl
Daniel Nemec
Kirby's Steakhouse

With duck confit, Hudson Valley foie gras, and brandied crisp drizzled with lavender-blackberry coulis.

Most Tropical Salad
Eric Dreyer

Dreyer's salad featured smoked red chili Caesar dressing topped with deep red pomegranate seeds, along with Big Island hearts of palm and tamale-battered shrimp.

Salad Most Likely To Crawl Back Into the Sea
Grant Morgan
Dragonfly at Hotel Zaza

Dragonfly's salad, with scallop ceviche.

Salad Most Befitting the Coming Harvest

Tiffany Derry

Go Fish Ocean Club

Tucked into little Bugles-shaped parmesan crisp horns (Derry assures us these weren't actually Bugles), the salad features shrimp tempura and crispy pancetta.

The Salad of the Future
Brian Wubbena
Truluck's Seafood Steak & Crab House

Wubbena's salad bundles are what Dippin' Dots meant to boring old hard-scoop ice cream, with white anchovy and shredded parmesan inside a romaine bundle wrapped in carrot. A great way to load up on Caesar dressing fast, accompanied by blue crab potato salad and a pulled duck sandwich.

Most Challenging Salad Pronunciation
Jeff Moschetti
Landmark Restaurant at the Melrose

Guajillo-braised karabuda (pork cheek), pork jus, white anchovy dressing and a parmesan crouton.

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