Why do restaurant salads taste so much better than any salad I try to make at home, even if I use the restaurant’s dressing?

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Why do restaurant salads taste so much better than any salad I try to make at home, even if I use the restaurant’s dressing?

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High quality products maybe? Try buying the same ingredients but the expensive ones.

In the case of Texas roadhouse its because they use Sysco ranch, hard boiled eggs, bacon, cheddar, and croutons. Cant get those in the grocery store.

Frankly a lot of times salt is the answer. Use it liberally if you want your food to taste good. Also, just because you’re using their bottled dressing doesn’t mean it’s actually the same thing they use in house. They might, for instance, be making essentially the same dressing fresh everyday or every week. There are also often preparation techniques that can take a dish to the next level. Like with a salad, we used to mix the croutons in the dressing to get them drenched before mixing the rest of the salad, which would give the croutons a muuuch better texture.

Make the dressing yourself is an option. Literally hidden valley mix packet and buttermilk is 10 times better then the bottled ranch.

It’s the lettuce. Restaurants pre-prep lettuce they wash some or get pre-washed. And then they chop it. They send a whole heads of iceberg through a manual device that just chops it into squares. Then they put them in large trays and they put them in the fridge again. The lettuce is then chilled awaiting a salad order. The refrigerator also dries any excess moisture from the lettuce washing. The salad is made very quickly and brought to you equally as quickly. Oftentimes on a chilled plate. There is no wilting from heat or the dressing so you have crisp crunchy lettuce and fresh toppings.

next time you make a salad at home think about how long that lettuce is sitting on your counter how dry you get the leaves after washing and how long it sits with the dressing on it before everyone sits down to eat.

Or try this experiment go to your fridge and take a bite out of your lettuce. Right out of your fridge it’s crisp and refreshing.

Make better salads. I know it’s a really useless answer but that’s simply it. They’re using better, fresher, ingredients.

The best tip I can give you is don’t buy pre-cut ANYTHING. EVER. Anything that is pre-sliced/prepared is several days old BEFORE it’s chopped up. Then it sits in a bag before being distributed. Salads from restaurants start with the whole piece and break it down. Also they tend to pick out higher quality veg.

Garbage in garbage out is another key point; if you get shitty veg you’ll end up with a shitty salad. You wouldn’t believe the quality difference that can vary with fresh produce.

Also oils and vinegars can have massively varying degrees of quality. Fun fact: Costco olive oil tends to be one of the few places whose label is honest. If you’re not buying from a small batch high quality producer, they tend to be lying about what’s in the bottle.

One thing to try if you are not already is to pour the dressing on and toss the salad around to coat it fully in the dressing before your first bite. If you already do that then no extra ideas.

What type of salad are you talking about? I prepped the house salads for the servers and made specialty salads at my station that had different mixtures of lettuce depending on what the salad I was making. The plain house salad is just simple iceberg with some other stuff and we used dressings from sysco or usa foods.

I made ceasar and blue cheese dressing from scratch about every other day. Then we had a rotation of special dressings like hot bacon dressing, soy ginger, and garlic citrus that were made from scratch but only on the menu sporadically.

you arent using enough salt and suggar and fats, the amount of salt and suggar you think to use? triple that, that is what restaurant uses for the food to taste so good, why everything tastes so good? the amount of butter used is insane, add the amount you think you should use, now duoble that, and now triple that.

Those ginger dressing salads from japanese places are like gold. We tried to recreate it. Failed.

Simple answer: Our produce is probably fresher. In my area, the produce I get for my restaurant will last weeks in my walk in. Produce I have to purchase between delivery last days at most.

We get a 3 lb. bag of baby spinach at our local warehouse store every three to four weeks to use at home. Produce from grocery stores might last a week.

Commerical produce is significantly fresher!

And get your lettuce as dry as possible.

If you tell me exactly what your salad is missing, I might be able to give you a suggestion or two.

The produce is different. I worked at a restaurant that had fresh produce trucked in every Morning from a nearby farm. It’s quite literally a different product than the cheaper stuff from the grocery store thats been on trucks for days where they riped on the way as opposed to something that was still in the ground not to long ago.

They dont use ready made dressings in proper places. It’s made from fresh ingredients on the spot.

Here is a great secret resepy, so don’t tell anyone.

Make this dressing:

+ 1. Virgin olive oil (cold pressed)
+ 2. Balsamic vinegar
+ 3. Honey
+ 4. Mustard

Put only little balsamic vinegar. Mix these 4 ingredients and you will have best salad dressing ever. Try it out to get the ratios best for your taste.

Freshness and exectution I belive are the 2 biggest factors imo.

Freshness some one already mentioned produce from restaurants is just better from the supplyer very true. And to add a extra tip if you have black pepper, lemon or parmesan in the recipie make sure there freshly cracked pepper corns, freshly squeezed lemons and freshly shaved parmigian.

Also the restaurants sauce they sell to match there salad won’t be as good cause I guarentee you the difference is the bottle has the pepper lemmon or parm already in it while when they server it they make it without and keep those as fresh finishing touches.

Execution is key as well restaurants want to server you as quick as possible so they have lots of things on the ready. Lettuce being the most important one fresh cut washed and dried in the fridge again the air in the fridge is dry and dries out the leaves further and brown paper towels is king. Chilled plate another good trick keeps the lettuce colder when it gets to the table.

Just because no one has mentioned it yet: chilled plates? Some nicer restaurants will keep stacks of plates in the fridge, then dry off the condensation when they pull them out for your order. Someone mentioned wet lettuce diluting your dressing, and to some degree, the condensation will do the same thing. A chilled plate will keep your veggies cooler and crisper for longer, so the last bite tastes as good as the first.

High end restaurants will source greens and veggies from local growers. Fresher and will taste better. Not from big farms and bulk distributors.

And in their dressing lots of salt, butter and oil.

Couple reasons why our salad might taste better:

1. We get delivery every other day. We get product that will last us potentially 2 days.

2. Over tossing and letting the greens sit in the dressing too long causes it to wilt and not be crunchy anymore. This causes the quality to go down a lot.

3. Salt.

4. The cooks in the restaurant I use to work at are trained intensely to make sure that EVERYTHING they put out of the kitchen is perfect. Our chef/owner would rather have us make a salad 5 times and be perfect than send out a shitty salad. Yes, the wait time will be longer, but we usually send them a complimentary item to make up for the wait time.

Salt, pepper, use a giant metal or glass mixing bowl and mix everything together. You need a huge bowl to be able to mix the salad well enough to have that perfect dressing coat.

I know what you mean! Applebee’s side salad with ranch is my favorite, and I’m not able to duplicate it at home. The texture, the crunch, the super thick creamy dressing. I stop and grab one all the time, and it’s under $4.