A drive down any thoroughfare in Southlake is a whiplash-inducing experience — not from any potential driving hazards (although many exist), but rather from the onslaught of roadside restaurant eye candy.
There are the usual upscale options, downscale pancake joints and many attractive-looking eateries in between, all of which seem to be clamoring for our collective attention. It’s kind of like getting in the time machine and driving down Addison’s Belt Line restaurant row, circa 1990.
One of Southlake’s latest entries to the entree scene is Snappy Salads, a Dallas-based concept that adheres to today’s rigorous food-sourcing standards. You know — scratch-made, integrity-laden, blah, blah, blah food.
Snappy’s founder Chris Dahlander — a hospitality industry veteran who worked many years at Brinker International — created the restaurant for the dudes among us. Its tagline? “So Good, Even Guys Like Our Salads.”
I’m no guy, but I’ll say in my gruffest-sounding voice: Mission accomplished. That’s based on the happy-looking clientele I saw munching away at the long communal tables (made of reclaimed wood, natch) on a recent visit. With a stable of ready-to-make salads on its menu, it’s a departure from similar chains in that most of the salads here are based on recipes that the restaurant has presumably tweaked and futzed over in its test kitchen.
The results are obvious pairings, like the barbecue ranch chicken ($8.54 for a half salad or “snap”; $12.70 for a full), which has corn, black beans, cheddar cheese and a tangy house-made dressing. And because if you look up “manly man” in the dictionary you will see a picture of fried food, of course this salad features fried chicken tenders.
Many of the salads here have crispy components, which in all seriousness add texture and help to break up what could be a monotonous bowl of roughage.
We liked the crispy artichoke ($9.01/$12.70), which yins and yangs successfully with ingredients such as red-leaf and romaine lettuces, goat cheese, roasted red bell peppers and cucumbers. The artichoke is lightly fried in a breadcrumblike batter and plays well with the lemon vinaigrette dressing.
Other menu salads comprise a United Nations of flavors, from Mexico (the grilled avocado and the Mexican) to Greece (the Greek), etc.
We were glad we tried the salad and soup ($7.39), which is a mini snap — lettuce plus three ingredients of your choosing — and the soup of the day. However, I immediately regretted outsourcing the order to my dining companion, who visibly blanched at the idea of being limited to only four salad toppings.
Hence, the four ingredients make for a small salad (if not slightly less satisfying). The mushroom soup was terrific. While we might have detected a small amount of cream, it was quite light and abundant with hearty button mushrooms.
Wraps also find their way to the menu, and the Santa Fe chicken snap wrap ($6.24) is a serviceable option. And the loaded baked potatoes ($6) seem satisfying for resident carb-loaders. Our one note on the spud? Its skin was too overloaded with salt.
Snappy’s strives to stand out as a fresh alternative amid our littered local food landscape. It succeeds — if not always in the most creative of manners.