The ‘Sides’ section is the unsung hero of the menu. I build entire meals out of sides! And they are big, decadent, and delicious as every meal should be. Italian restaurants have steamed spinach and garlic, warm marinara sauce, fresh goat cheese, and sauteed broccoli rabe. Sushi restaurants have salad, seaweed salad, and avocado salad to pile together for a delicious dish.
Mexican restaurants will bring you fresh guacamole and pico de gallo to top your salad. And I have unearthed treasures in many unlikely places! My favorite steakhouse has pureed cauliflower “mashed potatoes” and baked sweet potato fries on its sides menu. I have found seasonal grilled vegetables, baked root vegetable medleys and crudite plates.
A menu is merely a list of ingredients for those of us that don’t want the breaded veal, pan-fried pork medalions, escargot, or penne ala vodka. What comes on the side? Ah, the veal comes on a bed of spinach? I’ll have that please. The pork medallions come with rosemary roasted turnips? That’s perfect. Without insulting the chef, I will ask which part of the meal I can pull out that will taste delicious, give a nod to his masterful blend of herbs and spices, and won’t compromise my clean cells.