Move over, romaine. It's time to make space for another leafy green: kale. Instead of blended in smoothies or cooked down in soups, raw kale has found a new home in the classic Caesar salad.
A traditional Caesar salad is governed by the four pillars of absolute goodness: leafy romaine, crunchy croutons, sharp parmigiano-reggiano and a creamy Caesar dressing. Boca takes the most traditional route with its kale Caesar salad ($9), which combines kale and romaine hearts with bottarga croutons, cheese and a lemon Caesar dressing. It's topped with a runny egg to add to its creaminess.
If you're trying to cut out dairy, then Lila is where it's at. The restaurant uses the same pairing of romaine and kale, but this time the duo is joined by rye croutons, a vegan parmesan and an oil-free dressing. (The salad costs $12.) "We do ours without oil, which goes with our theme of healthy eating," says co-owner Ryan Boeve. "You want to take advantage of any chance you can get to eat kale. The more greens, the better."
Even the newly opened Lemon Tree Kitchen is getting in on the action. The restaurant's vegan kale Caesar ($11) isn't afraid to stray from tradition. Croutons are replaced with crunchy ciabatta crisps and an eggless dressing that still tastes just as creamy. Cheese is completely erased from this plate, and instead pickled onions provide a tangy aftertaste.