5009 E. Washington St., Phoenix
Iceberg gets a bad rap. Dubbed the “polyester of lettuce,” the crisp but flavorless green is not as fashionable as kale or baby romaine, but has obvious virtue as a cooling finish for tacos and sandwiches – or as the foundation for a classic wedge salad, a staple of ‘50s and ‘60s steakhouse menus that’s making a comeback across the Valley. The Stockyards’ Western Wedge ($12, pictured), available at both lunch and dinner, has never gone out of fashion, says manager Gary Lasko. His chefs blanket half a lettuce head with roasted garlic ranch dressing, which runs wild over diced ripe tomatoes, sweet caramelized red onions and bits of smoky bacon. Every Stockyards entrée comes with a green salad, but you can upgrade to a wedge for $6. “Iceberg has the highest water content of all the lettuces, so it’s a great salad in the summertime – crunchy and refreshing,” Lasko says.
The Greene House
15024 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale
Tuck into The Greene House’s iceberg wedge ($10.50) and you’ll find a cache of 13-ingredient blue cheese dressing (including cucumber and buttermilk) hugging thick-cut lettuce layers topped with ripe cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced red onions and sweet bits of Nueske’s applewood smoked bacon. Executive chef Alex Herreid tops off the wedge with a mound of pleasantly pungent Danish blue cheese and a hunk of avocado. Along for the ride: two perfectly cooked hard-boiled egg halves sporting buttery, crumbly yolks. The kitchen serves the salad in traditional knife-and-fork form, or you can request it chopped and tossed. “The blue cheese dressing takes [the salad] over the top,” says Herreid. “It’s ready to rock, full of flavor and well-dressed.”
TEN Handcrafted American Fare & Spirits
2501 E. Camelback Rd., Phoenix
When chef/owner Jeff Hostenske created TEN’s menu, he was aiming for simple, classic American fare. “I wanted my mother to come to the restaurant and be able to know every ingredient we printed on the menu.” Enter the B.E.T. “you love it” Wedge ($9). Hostenske lays out a half head of iceberg cut into two ample wedges and festoons the layered lettuce with smoked bacon, hard-boiled egg quarters, cherry tomatoes (AKA the B.E.T.) and crumbled blue cheese topped with a velvety house-made buttermilk ranch dressing. He finishes the plate with a drizzle of bright green chive oil for a pop of color. You can add a protein for an extra charge, but the humble B.E.T. wedge is remarkably filling. Trendy greens may be all the rage, but iceberg lettuce stands tall against its leafy competition.
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