Salad Course Gets Dressed Up: Grab Some Greens From Rabbit's Garden

20110809-rabbit-450.jpg
Salads are so hot right now. So why are they always served so cold? At Rabbit, a new Arlington eatery, greens get cozy with straight-off-the-grill meats and veggies, which sets its meals apart from the typical salad bar creation in a plastic container.

Owner Aaron Gordon doesn’t consider the restaurant in the same category as Sweetgreen or Chop’t, because everything is cooked to order — and because the man behind the mixes is Katsuya Fukushima, an “Iron Chef America” champion who worked for Minibar, D.C.’s top kitchen for culinary creativity. But while the menu features some unusual offerings (such as grilled peaches and sliced prosciutto over arugula), don’t expect any molecular gastronomy. “There are no foams on the salad,” Gordon says. “No foie gras cotton candy.”

20110809-rabbit-250.jpgThere’s also no such thing as a customized salad — you must choose from Fukushima’s creations ($10.50).

But that won’t feel limiting, even if you’re watching your waistline. Consider the Rabbit, a bed of mixed greens with snow peas, sweet peas, mint and carrots done three ways — roasted, shaved and diced — topped with a carrot-top pesto and a drizzle of citrus vinaigrette. Need something more substantial post-workout? Try the Seared Tuna Niçoise, with red potatoes, olives, green beans, roasted tomatoes and egg.

The sandwiches ($8.50-$10.50), which arrive with an herb salad on the side, come stuffed with higher-calorie ingredients, such as beer-braised pork shoulder, Nutella and béchamel sauce. (Maybe that’s how you persuade your not-so-health-conscious friends to join you.) The slimmest offering is the Veggielove: roasted onion and bell peppers; grilled zucchini; pickled red onions and cucumbers; romesco; and pineapple.

Wash your meal down with a Rabbit juice ($3.50), a sweet combo of freshly squeezed carrot and apple that’ll get you ready to hop on out of there.

» 3035 Clarendon Blvd., Arlington; 703-243-5660, Rabbitsaladandgrill.com.

Photos by Nevin Martell

Also on Express

Pre-Games Anxiety: Tom Scocca, 'Beijing Welcomes You,' at Politics and Prose