Saturday, 17 July 2010
The Best Waldorf Salad in New York City
Admittedly I have not tried every Waldorf Salad in New York, so this title is just a tiny bit subjective. It should in fact read, The Best Waldorf Salad I Have Tasted So Far in New York City. But this sounds pretty cumbersome, and considering I have visited New York several times, and eaten a great deal of Waldorf Salad in a number of places, I think I am qualified to bestow my own little award. The funny thing is, my favourite Waldorf Salad hails from a rather unusual place.
As many people already know, the Waldorf Salad was invented by Oscar Tschirky, the maitre d'hotel at the Waldorf Hotel (the first incarnation of the iconic Waldorf Astoria Hotel) sometime in the late 1800's. It originally consisted of celery, apples, grapes and sometimes even pineapple dressed with mayonnaise. Walnuts did not form a part of it until sometime later. Although we stay at The Waldorf Astoria quite regularly and I have tasted the wonderful Waldorf Salad at Oscar's restaurant, named in honour of this salad's inventor, many times, I don't think it is the best in New York City. I do love the candied walnuts they use in their version of this salad entirely too much and it is absolutely scrumptious, but on the whole, I cannot bestow it with the title of favourite.
In fact, I believe that the best Waldorf Salad you can get in New York City hails from a restaurant on the 5th floor of a department store that has been around even longer than the Waldorf Astoria - Lord and Taylor, at 5th Avenue and 39th Street. Founded in 1826, it was the first major store on 5th Avenue. Sarabeth's Kitchen opened a branch of their restaurant there in 1998, and it is there that I believe you can find the very best Waldorf Salad in New York City. I am so convinced of this, I go back there every time we visit New York without fail for a taste of my favourite.
The apples in the Waldorf Salad at Sarabeth's in Lord and Taylor are just a garnish, and the salad is composed of much more lettuce - the light Bibb variety - than the original version was said to be. It also contains thinly sliced celery, and lots of grapes, alongside a healthy serving of walnuts and bite size pieces of tender chicken breast. Instead of traditional mayonnaise, the dressing is a creamy chive variety which gives the salad a lovely light flavour. It is ambrosial.
I've not yet tried to replicate Sarabeth's Waldorf Salad at home, but when I do I will definitely share the recipe. In the meantime, Sarabeth's are very generous about sharing many of their other delicious recipes on their website, so do click here to go and have a look.
The 21st Century Housewife has not been paid for this post.