HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >


wedge salad a rant

why would anyone pay 8.95 for a qtr head of lettuce when you have to do your own chopping and is it really a salad with ony one ingred

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Most wedge salads come with tomatoes in some form; some are chppoed toms others will give you cherry tomatoes. Good wedge salads have quality bacon lardons and crumbled bleu cheese. Typically you will see either ranch or bleu cheese dressing topping the wedge.

    I think $8.95 may be on the high end of normal for one of these salads. If you are in a high end steakhouse you could expect to pay more.

    1. Um....because they want a wedge salad? Because they're at a restaurant and aren't preparing they're own? Because there's usually more than one ingredient?

      1. I'd probably end up paying more for the ingredients and time preparing the salad.

        3 Replies
        1. re: dave_c

          Unless you include imported prosciutto, there is no way you could not make a wedge salad for less than $8.95.

          1. re: John E.

            If you used good ingredients I don't know how it could be less than $9.

            1. re: John E.

              quality blue is very expensive. cheap blue tastes like wax

          2. For the same reason that people pay a lot o money for pasta carbonara, or marinara, or Bolognese....and, not all of my food has to come in bite-size pieces cut up beforehand. :-)

            1. Sometimes, I'll order the wedge and the price point crosses my mind but I always ask for extra blue cheese crumbles and they never charge me and that alone makes me a winner and ahead of the game.

              1. Because the restaurant still has to pay the person who orders the lettuce, the person who puts it in the walk-in, the person who assembles the salad, the person who shows you to your table, the person who takes your order, the person who brings you your salad, the person who washes your plate when you're done (this is my favorite person, because I hate doing dishes), the credit card company who processes your payment, the insurance company, the landlord, the power company, etc. It might be possible to offer a wedge salad for a miniscule amount less than some other salad on the menu because of lower ingredient costs, but there's still significant overhead baked in.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Jacquilynne

                  Jacquilynne: in additon to all those things you mentioned, don't forget to add the CAPITAL costs:
                  the cost of the walk in
                  the cost of the industrial/commercial kitchen equiptment including the industrial dishwashing equipment, and the maintenance thereof
                  since most restaurant leases are triple net, the cost of maintaining and replacing everything from electrical to plumbing to HVAC etc, etc
                  the cost of licensing
                  permit costs for the build out
                  workman's comp
                  the payroll company
                  the cost of initial purchase and the replacement costs for dishes/glassware

                2. Because the particular wedge salad I am thinking of comes with an amazing blue cheese and bacon dressing. It's actually $11 and I happily pay that price for the happiness it brings my husband and me when we share it. :)

                  Also, wine is pretty much only one ingredient and I pay up to $15 for just a 6-oz. pour.

                  Menus are full of choices. Pick and choose the ones you think are the most economical and give you the best bang for your buck. That's all part of eating at a restaurant.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: ttoommyy

                    I will do obscene things for a great blue cheese dressing, including pay that much for a hunk of iceberg. :)

                  2. I love a good wedge and will pay that gladly. Compare it to the other salads on the menu and I suspect the prices are about the same. that's just what they've decided to charge for a salad.

                    1. My other wedge salad rant is that the plate/bowl is never the right size.

                      I can't seem to slice/ cut/ break into a wedge very well.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: Kris in Beijing

                        I can agree with the plating. A lot of places seem to just do a random "nice looking" plate, without considering the struggle we have to go through to eat it, because of said plate. I also, always ask for a steak knife when I get a wedge.

                        1. re: theeatlist

                          struggle struggle struggle...

                          nobody knows the struggles I've seen....

                          the steak, it cut like buttah with a fork....

                          the wedge, needed power tools and an industrial platter

                          1. re: Bellachefa

                            With me, it's more like a scene from Sesame Street when Cookie Monster eats, I'm afraid.

                            And I always ask for a steak knife, too!!

                          2. re: theeatlist

                            The two places at which I regularly order a wedge salad both serve it with a steak knife.

                        2. So how do you feel about the steak that follows the wedge salad? That's one ingredient too.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: Bkeats

                            There is no salt on that steak? I usually order a bleu cheese topping if one is available. That would be a couple ingredients there too.

                            1. re: jpc8015

                              Ok, salt and pepper is on the steak but I assumed (perhaps wrongly) that there would be dressing on the wedge (minimum of oil and vinegar so 3 ingredients). If I'm having dry aged prime steak, I'm not putting blue cheese or any other crap on the steak. Blue cheese belongs on the wedge with bacon.

                              1. re: Bkeats

                                I guess my bleu cheese topping does depend on the quality of the meat I am eating. I had a great steak at STRIPSTEAK in Las Vegas and I would never let bleu cheese go near it.

                          2. I honestly don't understand the basis of this rant. $ 8.95 is probably the "avg" price for a non-house salad. All salads are over priced not sure why the angst towards the wedge, what did it ever do to the OP? Poor wedge.

                            4 Replies
                              1. re: jrvedivici

                                Sort of have to agree. Lettuce, dressing, bacon, tomatoes, maybe some red onions. Labor to plate it, take it to the table, bus, and clean up. I think that cost is about "avg", too. Much of it might depend on where the restaurant is located (region/city) and what type of restaurant. Which we don't know. And restaurants have to make money, too. Profit is not a dirty word.

                                1. re: HoosierFoodie

                                  Actually, on Chowhound profit is a dirty word and corporations are evil. Restaurants are supposed to feed you based on the goodness in their hearts.

                                  1. re: jpc8015

                                    all their food is prepared with "love".

                                    <<insert eye-roll emoticon here>>

                              2. Wedge salad makes me think of two "childhood" memories. Grew up in SE PA and remember a few trips to The Pub in NJ. It's still there... haven't been there since a teenager. They did a wedge salad and I ALWASY got blue cheese dressing on it. Blue cheese dressing was "extra" at that time and an "adult" thing. Kids got French or something else. Luckily go tastes of Dad's and KNEW BC was gonna be a favorite forever.

                                In Delawar County, there used to be a place called The Longhorn. Apparently there's a chain in SE PA but this was NOT a chaiin place. Specialized in steaks and their wedge was just a quarter head of ice berg with liberal BC dressing.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: kseiverd

                                  That's exactly what I got at the Longhorn in Columbus Ohio, back in the 60s. A wedge of cold, crispy iceberg topped with the best BC dressing.
                                  Funny how that's come back in style, again.

                                  1. re: kseiverd

                                    My first job out of high school was at a place where wedges with blue cheese were very popular. (Family owned place known for steaks)

                                    Reading this thread takes me right back to eating a pre-shift meal in the hot kitchen and the pleasure of the cool, crisp lettuce and rich dressing with extra crumbles.

                                    Good wedges are one of those "dad" foods for me. He taught me to enjoy good food. He would have been mid30s during the mad men era so yeah, I can see that show influencing some come backs.

                                  2. A proper wedge salad, with a superior head of iceberg and high quality accouterments and dressing - sublime. All too often a true quality head of iceberg just doesn't make it to the grocer.

                                    1. I like to think of the lettuce as a vehicle to carry, hopefully homemade, a generous portion of creamy chunky blue cheese dressing, warm crispy bacon lardons, and on the plate a small crew of halved cherry tomatoes and maybe a stray cuke slice. Some course cracked pepper and a glass of good red. I'll pay 8.95 all day for that.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: treb

                                        I prefer it without any other veggies, but the iceberg must be very fresh and crisp.

                                      2. It is a traditional salad in some of the best Prime, dry aged, steakhouses.

                                        There is a lot to be said for.................tradition.............

                                        1. i do not understand when folks make the comment "I could make it for less at home".
                                          Of course you can!!!!!

                                          5 Replies
                                          1. re: ospreycove

                                            lol I agree!
                                            The restaurant itself makes it for less, but charges more... so they can make a profit! Do people not understand that a restaurant is a business and must make money?

                                            1. re: ttoommyy

                                              Profits are dirty and anybody who seeks them is evil.

                                            2. re: ospreycove

                                              You could probably not make one wedge salad for less than $8.95 but you could make twenty wedges for less than $179.00.

                                              1. re: ospreycove

                                                ospreycove: also, people often utter that statement when they make the item at home with supermarket-quality ingredients while the restaurants often get much higher-quality ingredients and sometimes those higher-quality ingredients are out of season and are not even AVAILABLE to those complaining folks.
                                                it seems that most folks don't appreciate the difference.
                                                the beautiful, off-season, picture-perfect, great-flavored asparagus that the steakhouse serves is NOT the same stuff that you get at the local supermarket from the frozen section!!

                                                1. re: westsidegal

                                                  West sidebar,
                                                  I could not agree w/you more!! It is in the interest of a good restaurant operator to source the best products, always.....

                                              2. Maybe restaurants should be government owned and operated, we could eat gruel at bloated prices, and the place would always serve it cold, or be out of it, and still raise the prices to add staff!!!

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: ospreycove

                                                  Right, then we could mandate which restaurants you must buy food from. That way we can ensure that everybody is eating locally sourced organic food. Restaurants who choose not to serve this type of food will be determined to be inadequate and they will be shut down.

                                                  We could then set up a network of federal and state run websites where consumers can go to pick out there meals for home delivery. For people who can't afford the food we are forcing them to buy we will offer a subsidy through a network of state and federal websites where you can purchase your food.

                                                  I know that this sounds complicated but it really isn't because if you like your current restaurant, you can keep your current restaurant; period.

                                                  1. re: jpc8015

                                                    It then goes without saying, "all inspectors will be armed with automatic weapons, body armor and arrive in armored cars", (with a direct line to the NSA).

                                                2. I love a cold, crispy wedge of iceberg lettuce with a delicious, house-made blue cheese creamy dressing, and will happily pay 8.95 if I don't have to make it happen by myself. Especially if it comes with a nice strip steak broiled on a very hot flame, thank you steakhouse!

                                                  2 Replies
                                                    1. re: ttoommyy

                                                      Ha! I had to read teague's post a couple of times to figure out ttoomyy's post/question.

                                                      "Comes with" is so common in my area but I guess others would find it odd.

                                                  1. I grew up about 15minutes drive from salinas, CA- also known as where foxy, dole, driscoll's and a significant percent of the veggies sold in supermarkets comes from.

                                                    Anyways. My grandmother would take a head of iceburg that was picked within the past 24 hrs, make the wedges, and then slather one side in Good Foods mayo, a little cracked pepper over it.
                                                    Ice cold super crispy lettuce with the bit of creaminess and hint of pepper- waaaayy better than the sum of its parts. Easily worth $8.95

                                                    1. As a kid, I used to always eat the lettuce/cocktail sauce that was left after I ate the shrimp cocktail which was served on top. In later years, when the "wedge" was a common choice of salad, I started getting it with cocktail sauce as a dressing. It's better at home where I can make my own sauce.....er, dressing.

                                                      1. I'm a Brit, in the UK. What's a wedge salad please?

                                                        10 Replies
                                                        1. re: Robin Joy

                                                          It's a classic American steakhouse salad. A wedge of very fresh crisphead (iceberg in US parlance) lettuce. With a dressing made with blue cheese (buttermilk and mayonnaise frequently feature in the dressing; the finest versions use chunks of Roquefort or Gorgonzola cheese, which are creamy enough to blend into the dressing while still retaining some character of their own). Bits of crisp, streaky bacon garnish, along with chives or scallions.

                                                          1. re: Karl S

                                                            Thank you.

                                                            That sounds great, although I'd probably try Cos/Romaine hearts, or Little Gem, as IMO Iceberg's appeal is limited.

                                                            1. re: Robin Joy

                                                              Not the same. Got to have the crisp neutrality and sturdiness of iceburg to carry the rich dressing. Perfect balance. I have tried it with romaine hearts and while good, it's just not as good.

                                                              1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                Absolutely. Barbara Kafka and Jacques Pepin would agree. Good old iceberg has its place in the kitchen.

                                                                1. re: jmckee

                                                                  If iceberg lettuce were uncommon and difficult to grow and transport, it would be a much sought after ingredient by most foodies and chefs.

                                                                  1. re: John E.

                                                                    Yes, if iceberg lettuce came from a pig's intestines, it would be the darling of the foodies.

                                                                      1. re: John E.

                                                                        I used to be an anti-iceberg snob, until I got one from my CSA. Then I learned just how good really fresh iceberg can be.

                                                                      2. re: jmckee

                                                                        I greatly prefer salads that are crunchy and watery over ones that are more leafy -- I love iceberg lettuce and most kinds of slaws, and like romaine and spinach but really don't love the whole spring mix / baby greens salad phenomena. I'm sure those dark green lettuces are probably better for me in some way, but if I'm eating salad, it's because I want something cool and refreshing, and that kind of greens just doesn't do it for me. I'll eat them if they're served to me at a wedding or something, but I don't really order them in restaurants unless the toppings sound really fantastic and the lettuce sounds like merely a vehicle for them.

                                                                    1. re: Robin Joy

                                                                      Well, that's tasty, too, but it's not a wedge salad.

                                                                2. What's your point about having to chop it yourself?
                                                                  Do restaurants typically cut your food, like, you know, your mom?

                                                                  11 Replies
                                                                  1. re: monavano

                                                                    MY chopping problem is that often a wedge is served on a flat oval dish only slightly larger than the intact 'berg.
                                                                    So chopped pieces go where?
                                                                    Saw off a piece, transfer to steak plate (this is probably a steakhouse, you know) and then go back into the original for some topping and dressing?

                                                                    1. re: Kris in Beijing

                                                                      I think the wedge needs room to groove- I don't want it on my steak plate!

                                                                      It reminds me of a pork chop DH got at a restaurant.
                                                                      Beautiful chop.
                                                                      Cooked perfectly.
                                                                      Juice, and THAT became a problem because the darn thing was served on a small wooden cutting board.
                                                                      Where were the juices supposed to go? Oh, that's right, on the table.

                                                                      1. re: Kris in Beijing

                                                                        Kris in B: "So chopped pieces go where?"

                                                                        uhhh on your fork and down your craw? since it's steakhouse fare, I eat it like a steak; only cutting a forkful at a time, maybe getting the dressing on the side to keep the ratio even throughout.

                                                                      2. re: monavano

                                                                        Have I been approaching the wedge incorrectly my whole life?

                                                                        Are you supposed to eat it like a baked potato, from center and then down/in and finally consume the outer portion once it's hollowed?

                                                                        1. re: Kris in Beijing

                                                                          I just suck the dressing off the top.

                                                                          1. re: monavano

                                                                            New Product Alert:
                                                                            THE STRAWEDGIE

                                                                            Tired of missing out on all that great dressing on your wedge salad?
                                                                            You need a STRAWEDGIE, the only straw built for blue cheese AND iceberg.

                                                                            1. re: Kris in Beijing

                                                                              Forget the straw, I'll mainline blue cheese dressing.

                                                                          2. re: Kris in Beijing

                                                                            IDK, I eat it by cutting one bite at a time. Inside, outside, doesn't matter to me. But minimal "plate real estate" required.

                                                                            1. re: Kris in Beijing

                                                                              Usually, I grab the Wedge in both hands and eat it like a watermelon, only there are no seeds to spit out!!!!

                                                                          3. We never went to O'Charley's in Nashville for the steak, always for the wedge, with house-made bleu cheese dressing and crumbles of real (and good!) bacon. That was livin' large, kids. That was in those days one of the only times we'd eat iceberg lettuce, even though I'd gotten over any snobby attitudes towards it. This was in the '80s, and it was something like $3.50 …

                                                                            1. I saw Wedge Salad Rant open up for Fine Young Cannibals in Cleveland back in '86.

                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                1. re: hill food

                                                                                  and did a fab rework of a FYC classic

                                                                                  it drives me crazy