Dish 44: Cobb Salad, Union Trust, 7th and Chestnut, http://www.uniontruststeakhouse.com/
I am not a diva. But I certainly felt like one, taking an entire sumptuously upholstered booth to myself in Union Trust. The cavernous room echoes the Musée d’Orsay, light streaming generously from the high arched windows. The first floor bar rises like tiger-skinned Aztec temple, lit from within, and hip-height mahogany corrals the dining room into intimate bays, each tabletop wrapped in red leather. Businessmen and women sat at the other tables, talking about kids and cap rates, and occasionally looked over as if to ask, “Who is she?”
Like I said, I’m not a diva. I’m easygoing. I’m not into jewelry. And I do not conduct interviews from my bed. But there are some days that I cannot stomach the sight of meat. I didn’t think today was one of those days, but when the Cobb Salad arrived at the table, romaine lettuce soaked in creamy “roaring 40s” dressing with stripes of chopped egg, hunks of bleu cheese, cherry tomatoes, and big, steaming chunks of bacon, practically still sizzling from the pan, oozing thick bacon aroma into the air—oh, stop drooling, I’m trying to tell a story! When it arrived, I nearly gagged. I choked down a bite, but it was not to be. You can tell it’s a fantastic salad, can’t you? But I had to order something else.
The baby beets salad is a like reading The Picture of Dorian Grey in the hammock on a summer afternoon- light, intelligent, sweet, and enjoyable. It feels well thought out; the dressing on the spinach has a crisp onion bite that contrasts with the goat cheese—and your first taste of the toasted hazelnuts is a gift! We have had the nut-goat cheese-something sweet-spinach salad so many times in the past several years, but never with hazelnuts. In the same vein, however, the beets—that were delicately sweet on their own—were lost in the pungent flavors of the goat cheese and dressing. Using a vegetable, and particularly an unsung root vegetable, instead of the typical fruit or dried fruit was innovative and welcome, but perhaps the salad would truly come together with something more robust.
The experience is exquisite; the service at Union Trust is exceptional. The servers seemed genuinely interested in the outcome of my meal, and the owner, Ed, paid a visit when they demonstrated concern over my pickiness. I think to some degree they were concerned for my welfare—I used to worry about the people who came alone when I waited tables—but sometimes a diva just wants to be alone with her finance book, reminiscing about her last trip to the Musée d’Orsay, and planning her next.