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[Photo: Kathy YL Chan]

Escarole is one of my favorite types of greens to use at home when preparing a salad. And for this reason, I tend to keep a sharp eye out for escarole salads in restaurants to pick up ideas and inspirations. Two places in particular have versions so good that I return for them time after time—it just doesn't taste the same when I make it at home. The first is Otto's Sunchoke and Escarole Salad ($8), which is featured throughout the year, and a much-loved classic at Otto. Toasty marcona almond bits meet chopped escarole in a bright lemony olive oil-based dressing. The salad really comes together with the cheese, something like a mild, soft feta, and the fresh crunch of sunchokes, sliced extra-thin. It's always perfectly tossed, the dressing light and evenly distributed. It works as a lunch on its own with a side of Otto's bread and olive oil, or as a starter to one of the pasta dishes; perhaps this taccozzette?

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Slightly further west is Buvette, where the Escarole Salad ($10) shows up as frequent special on their chalkboard menu. Big garlic-rubbed croutons tossed in with torn escarole leaves, a dressing of mustard, sherry vinegar and olive oil—with the salty punch of anchovies. But not the whole fillet; it's chopped and tossed in like the croutons, briny bites nestled in each forkful. A whole hard boiled egg, yolk and all, is shaved over the salad surface, making for a feathery, texturally whimsical change from simply chopped hard boiled eggs.

Otto

1 5th Avenue, New York NY 10003 (map)
212-995-9559
ottopizzeria.com

Buvette

42 Grove Street, New York NY 10014 (map)
212-255-3590
ilovebuvette.com

About the author: Originally from Honolulu, Kathy YL Chan writes A Passion For Food, where she chronicles her eats and travels adventures between Hawai'i, New York and beyond. She firmly believes that there is always room for dessert.

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