Way back in the olden days — 2012 to be exact — kale was the hottest vegetable in the city. Go to any mid-to-higher end restaurant, and there it was, below seared fish, crisped up as a chip in a bowl of vegetable chips, sautéed into some sort of old-school creamy side dish. It was everywhere.
But it probably became most widely known, and most beloved, at Benson’s Lot 2, which served it in an incredibly delicious kale salad, studded with crunchy nuts, golden raisins and Parmesan, all tossed in a creamy, tangy yogurt-based dressing. Lot 2 closed in 2018.
I loved that salad. And I’ve been looking for a replacement for years.
I unexpectedly found it last week, at Lola’s, in Dundee, while having dinner on their delightful little patio.
Their jalapeño kale salad (I mean, you had me at jalapeño, Lola) consists of a simple combination, much like my old favorite: organic green kale, slivered jalapeño and chopped spiced almonds, all tossed in house-made lemony caesar dressing. Don’t forget the huge chunk of house made focaccia on the side, either.
The two salads have a lot in common, actually: A creamy dressing that contrasts the heartiness of the greens. Crunchy nuts, which at Lola’s, have a spicy-sweet thing going on. Kale that’s been gently massaged in some oil to soften it’s sometimes tough bite. But this new salad has an added pop from those raw pepper slices, which nestle into the leaves and show up every few bites with a spicy kick that’s just delicious.
Anyway, I highly recommend it. And I highly recommend checking out Lola’s in general. Yes, it’s inside a theater. But it’s got real staying power, I think, as a destination on its own.
And one last note on kale salads for today: Recently I googled “Lot 2 kale salad,” just for the heck of it. Up popped a recipe, which looked wildly similar to the one many of us knew and loved, so I did the legwork and tried it. I made a few small changes, and republished it with the photo of the salad I made.
For your enjoyment, here’s a dupe of the Lot 2 kale salad recipe for you to make at home.