The West is the birthplace of the Caesar salad. Here are a few eateries that make it the old-fashioned way.
Many great salads have been born this side of the Rockies—Cobb, Caesar, and crab Louis—but it is the Caesar, appropriately, that has conquered the world, popping up on menus from Australia to Abu Dhabi. In 1924 an Italian restaurateur in Tijuana, César Cardini, created a novel dish out of garlicky croutons, grated Parmesan, and a punchy dressing of olive oil, lemon, coddled egg, and Worcestershire, all spread lavishly on canoe-shaped romaine leaves that guests ate with their fingers. This salad was not only dinner but theater: A waiter wheeled a cart over and tossed the greens tableside.
These days grilled chicken, steak, and even calamari show up in newfangled versions. Among the dwindling handful of restaurants that still prepare Caesars with old-fashioned panache are Alfred’s Steakhouse (415-781-7058) in San Francisco, Delmonico Steakhouse (702-414-3737) in Las Vegas, and Le Bistro (209-951-0885) in Stockton, Calif.
Photography by Scott Peterson
This article was first published in January 2006. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.