Salads are not on the approved “first date” food list. For one thing, if you order a salad you will end up salivating shamefully at your date's burger and fries, and you will not know this person well enough to eat their fries without asking. Also, salad is not in general a cute food—meaning it's hard to look cute while you're shoveling an oversize leaf dripping with dressing into your mouth. Often, salad is just a game of “hunt the cheese and chicken” that leaves you with a limp, unappetizing bowl of picked over greens. Chop Shop Salads  (with two locations ) may have changed all that.
Chop Shop has an array salads to choose from, or you can build your own salad from their extensive list of ingredients. You can also order any of their salads as a wrap, which comes fat and happy as a little bundled baby of crunchy deliciousness. This salad bar has things like chickpeas, palm hearts, goat cheese, tequila lime chicken, grilled shrimp, fried onions and fresh mozzarella. The employees behind the bar put together a big honking bowl of ingredients and slide it down to someone who dumps all of it out on a chopping board. The chopping person uses a large curved blade to chop, mix, and blend the ingredients of your salad so every bite has an even distribution of dressing, cheese, meat and the good stuff mixed with the lettuce. It is brilliant and it solves all my previously stated problems with salad.
I tried the Cowboy Club, with goat cheese, bacon, sunflower seeds, steak, and avocado instead of the red onions. My girlfriends had the Handsome Rob (steak, chicken, sharp cheddar, corn, cucumber, red, green, banana and jalapeno peppers, fried onions and tortilla strips) as a wrap; and the Bookie as a salad (shrimp, ham, fresh mozzarella, hard boiled egg and croutons). Chop Shop delivers, but we wanted to get out off the office for our lunch break so we visited the downtown location and glutted ourselves with fresh, easily consumed and wonderfully put together salads. Salad will never be the same again!
Photos: Elizabeth Orrick