City Desk

Secrets of Chop’t

I've visited Chop't three times since it opened last month. I'm still working on composing the perfect bowl. There's a lot to choose from at this Chinatown salad bar spot–which isn't necessarily a good thing, as our food critic Tim Carman pointed out last week. I'll let his comment do the writing work for me: "The draw of places like Chop’t is supposed to be its DIY approach, but frankly, I hate standing there at the counter, trying to compose a salad on the spot while feeling the impatient eye of both employee and awaiting customer burning a hole in the base of my skull. Besides, unlike at home where you can fix any mistake by adding or subtracting ingredients, you’re stuck with your salad, for better or for worse, once you’ve made an order." Still, despite the stress-ridden process, each visit has been better than the last. But, even if I never attain the superior salad, I have discovered another draw to keep me coming back to Chop't. I'm almost shameful to admit it: but, for me, the desserts have been the most reliably yummy part of the experience. Past that long bar of healthy radishes, edamame, grilled asparagus, albacore tuna, grilled portabello, etc., there are some damn good sweets. My second trip, I tried the brownie. My third trip, I tried the blondie. Both were very satisfying. And they're the ideal size: small, maybe two by two inches, a solid five to seven bites. The perfect thing to turn you around after your ambitious collection of "Thai curry rocket fuel" dressing, spinach, Italian salami, celery, and anchovies proved a flop.

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