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Signature salads in the Buffalo area

Plenty of restaurant owners do not consider salads a specific draw, but more of a must-have category, on the menu to ward off complaints. For them, green and crisp and cool are enough, with no reason to make salads anything more than the menu's generic character actors.

But in the depth of summer, here's a nod to a few places that are making salads stars.

Garden salad ($9) from Black Iron Bystro
3648 South Park Ave., Blasdell, 240-9830

Black Iron Bystro serves a mixed green salad with a rotation of fresh vegetables. This salad has Vietnamese cilantro, grilled garlic scapes, three varieties of mint and basil, celery, celery leaves, Chioggia beets, nasturtium flowers and leaves, frisee, quick pickled cucumbers, pickled ramps, yarrow, hyssop and fennel fronds. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

Bryan Mecozzi's garden salad earns the name honestly. Most of the changing cast of greens, herbs and edible flowers are only hours old, snipped before service from his restaurant plot. Yarrow, Vietnamese cilantro, peppery nasturtiums and various mints, plus pickled vegetables, are dressed with grapefruit-apple cider vinaigrette.

[RELATED: See Sharon Cantillon's summer-y salad photos]

*****

Summer Fling ($16) from The Poppyseed
3670 McKinley Parkway, 824-0075

The Summer Fling is made with arugula, roasted pistachios, strawberries, shredded mozzarella, puffed quinoa, julienne sirloin steak and mandarin oranges. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

At a restaurant known for substantial dinner salads, Sherry Biscaro offers this summer special. It offers the crunch of puffed quinoa and pistachios, strawberries and on a mandarin orange segments and shredded mozzarella cheese on a bed of arugula, with choice of housemade dressing. Julienned sirloin cooked to order tops it off.

*****

Thai noodle salad ($13) from Betty's
370 Virginia St., 362-0633

Betty's Thai noodle salad has rice noodles tossed with a ginger-lime vinaigrette over mixed greens with carrot; radish; cucumber; a scallion, cilantro, mint and basil chiffonade; and toasted peanuts. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

Among ethnic accents on the vegan-friendly menu is this meal-sized salad inspired by Thai cuisine. Greens are topped with rice noodles, cucumber, radish, carrot and red onion, then cilantro, mint, scallion and roasted peanuts. Dressing powered by fresh lime juice, garlic, ginger and chili provides the finishing touch.

*****

Fatoush ($11) from 755 Restaurant & Lounge
755 W. Market St., Niagara Falls, 205-8969

The 755 Restaurant Restaurant & Lounge's fatoush is made with romaine, parsley, cucumbers, tomatoes, radishes, sumac, mint and topped with fried pita. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

Hidden in the City Market, the best Lebanese restaurant in Western New York offers fatoush worth the drive. Impeccably fresh romaine, cucumber, radish, parsley, tomato, onion and mint, topped with sumac and crunchy pita chips, is dressed in fresh lemon and olive oil. The first bite is a harbinger of Lebanese excellence to come.

*****

Farmer's Market ($11) from Craving
1472 Hertel Ave., 883-1675

Craving makes a Farmer's Market salad with Plato Dale lettuces, country croutons with housemade bread, pickled garlic scapes, pickled Walla Walla onions, pickled sweet peppers and Green Goddess dressing. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

Adam Goetz, proud of presenting local farms' work, offers Plato Dale greens, which includes mizuna, purslane and radicchio. They're augmented with pickled vegetables, made-to-order croutons from housemade bread and dressed with a green goddess dressing of fresh herbs and housemade mayonnaise.

*****

Horiatiki ($8.39) from Kostas
1561 Hertel Ave., 838-5225

Kostas Family Restaurant serves the Horiatiki, also known as a "village salad." It's made with tomato, cucumbers, onions, olives, green peppers, pepperoncini, feta cheese and herbs, but contains no lettuce. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

In Greece, the standard salad uses little or no lettuce, said Elia Pozantidis, Kostas' co-owner. A Greek salad that Greeks would recognize is "village salad." His version has cucumber, tomato, green pepper, Greek olives, pepperoncini, oregano and feta cheese. Apply Greek dressing or, traditionally, extra-virgin Greek olive oil and vinegar.

*****

Moroccan falafel salad ($10.95) from Café 59
62 Allen St., 883-1880

Cafe 59 serves a Moroccan falafel salad, comprising fried falafel over chopped romaine with roasted carrots, red onion, tabouli, tomato, artichoke hearts, Greek yogurt, Greek vinaigrette and Moroccan seasoning. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

A meal-sized salad that doesn't rely on meat for heft, this falafel-topped special has been pushed onto the regular menu by popular demand. Greens are joined by roasted carrots, a scoop of housemade tabbouleh, and a dusting of housemade Moroccan spice. Greek vinaigrette and Greek yogurt arrive on the side, be applied as desired.

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Send restaurant tips to agalarneau@buffnews.com and follow @BuffaloFood on Instagram and Twitter.

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