In a classic case of better late than never, it is finally open, with a quiet soft opening during the past couple of weeks, followed by a special preview Tuesday and a grand opening Wednesday. It's a good, healthful addition to the downtown dining scene, on Commerce Street across from Bass Hall.
The salad bar, which is not self-serve but staffed by tong-wielding servers (a plus in my book), is like any other choose-your-ingredients fast-casual place -- except this place has more ingredients, and if you're indecisive like me, it can be a little overwhelming. The main orders come in the form of salads and salad wraps, and Tuesday's lunchtime visit found me in an unusually decisive mood, quickly choosing a to-go salad wrap over a mere salad.
The line starts with close to half-dozen lettuces and other greens -- Romaine, spinach, mixed greens, Salata mix, etc. -- followed by toppings (tomato, carrots, cucumber, beans, olives, corn and I left some stuff out), and then more toppings (almonds, raisins, cheeses, fruits and I left some stuff out), dressings, meat and seafood if you want to carnivorize your salad, and, for the wraps, five different styles of tortilla.
Service was fast -- so fast I'm not sure what all I wound up ordering for my wrap, but I believe it was mixed greens, cucumbers, carrots, almonds, raisins, cheddar cheese and chipotle chicken, lime-ginger dressing (and I probably left some stuff out) inside a cucumber tortilla. My random mix of ingredients was good, although the chicken could have been spicier. The tortilla's color stood out more than its flavor, and I really didn't notice much lime or ginger in the dressing. The lettuce and vegetables sure tasted fresh, though, and they looked pretty.
Next time, I'll probably use the online order form (which isn't available yet for the brand-new Sundance location) just to feel a bit more thoughtful about my order. Salata is at 520 Commerce St. in Sundance Square. If it leaves you feeling too virtuous, well, Salata does sell cookies. And there's a Cupcakery next door.