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Best Salads: Leafy treasures coated in vinaigrette 

Eccolo

Every day at lunch, Eccolo's list of a half-dozen big salads is an exploration of earthy, leafy elements all slick with vinaigrette. Chef Christopher Lee's best-known salad — the chopped salad — is a category apart. The hash of celery and blue cheese, currants and pine nuts, is like some dense condiment. Entree salads are looser and more exuberant: piles of chunky elements whose flavors shine with subtle enhancements. The stark tastes can be startling. On a recent visit, large flakes of roasted salmon mingled with beets, tiny shavings of young fennel, and sprigs of dill. Its heap of mixed greens resembled stage-one compost: plumelike stalks of land cress, romaine leaves, and assorted chicories. Another combined fat wedges of Fuji apple, hunks of farmhouse Cheddar pried apart with a knife tip, and walnuts in a sugar coating so restrained they actually tasted like nuts. Eccolo, my friends, is salad epiphany.

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