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Westword's Best Salad Bar/Shop 2012
Fourleaf Chopped Salads The Denver Tech Center is full of green energy, thanks to Fourleaf Chopped Salads, a homegrown marvel. This subterranean spot is only open weekdays, and only at lunch — when it's always packed. The menu features a dozen specialty salads, as well as some basic choices of greens, a couple dozen dressing options and a dizzying number of proteins and other possible additions: tofu, shrimp, turkey, salami, three kinds of chicken, apples, artichoke hearts, avocado, broccoli, chickpeas, corn, cranberries, eggs, jicama, olives, peas, pasta, sunflower seeds...and on and on. After you choose between iceberg, romaine, spinach or spring mix, you can add as few or as many toppings as you like; everything is then stashed in a bowl, and just before serving, a staffer dumps the mix on a cutting board and works it over with a giant, two-handled rocking knife that chops it all into bite-sized pieces. It's fresh, it's fast, and it's amazingly good.
Denver Post Review - ★★★1/2
by Kyle Wagner, Denver Post Dining Critic
Fourleaf is a casual, funky space painted neon orange and green, the chairs and tables are metal, and the overall feeling is fun. The employees take their jobs seriously but can make you laugh too, and when they run out of things, such as the heavenly sweet breadsticks that come with every salad, they go out of their way to make it up, such as delivering them the second they pop out of the oven.
A medium salad at Fourleaf is $5.50 ($6.50 for a large), plenty, and sometimes even too much, for one person. First you select a lettuce (iceberg, romaine, spinach or spring mix) and then four additions from a roster of 42 (the standards, along with such oddities as Chinese noodles), then one of 18 dressings, including a tasty sweet-and-sour mandarin-ginger-sesame and a pickle-tart Thousand Island.
Protein is available too for an extra charge, such as moist roasted turkey ($1), grill-charred tofu ($1), grilled shrimp ($2) and tender grilled buffalo ($2).
All of the dressings were flavorful and abundant in the salads, especially the blue cheese, which came on the "steakhouse" salad from Fourleaf's "favorites" menu of combinations ($6.50 for medium, $7.50 for large) the house recommends. The beef was juicy, medium-rare and mixed in with chopped iceberg, crumbled blue, tomatoes, cucumbers and red onion.
Atmosphere: Funky, with neon orange and green walls and staff attire. It feels fun the second you walk through the door.
Service: Excellent. Friendly, cheerful, hard-working.
Wine list: No alcohol.
Details: All major credit cards; parking lot; quiet; no smoking; no reservations; vegetarian and vegan options; wheelchair accessible.