Giving Spinach The Green Light
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When the classic cartoon character Popeye would devour those cans of spinach whole and start bursting at the seams with bulging arm muscles, he was really onto something. After all, the iron-rich vegetable is more than ideal for a healthy diet, increasing strength and energy while filling our bodies with much-needed vitamins and minerals.
But here at Dining Out, we’re concerned with flavor just as much as with the health factor, so I decided to put spinach to the test to see just how delicious this leafy green really can be.
While other superfoods and trendy greens go in and out of fashion, spinach remains a go-to vegetable for a wide range of cuisines, as it holds up brilliantly when cooked or eaten raw. And with all the healthy juice bars and green smoothie shops popping up around town, you can even drink your daily dose of this vegetable!
We’ve lined up some delectable — and surprisingly decadent — options for you. And speaking of glorious greens, check out the return of Veggin’ Out on page 4 for more vegetarian recipes.
A TASTE OF TRADITION
Healthy as it may be, spinach also can be quite an indulgent affair, especially when it’s part of a steak house dinner.
At Ruth’s Chris, Creamed Spinach ($13) is as integral to the meal as the steak itself. According to executive chef Eser Domingo, the creamy spinach concoction is the best-selling side dish next to Mashed Potatoes.
So what is it that makes Creamed Spinach the perfect accompaniment to a meaty steak? “It provides balance when you’re eating protein because it cuts through the steak,” says the chef. “People like it because it’s a vegetable option and it’s very velvety.”
The heavenly side dish is prepared with a béchamel cream sauce and seasoned just right. Domingo says many diners like to spread it over their favorite steaks, creating a spinach butter of sorts. And trust me, you’ll want to slather it over a thick and juicy 40-ounce slab of USDA Prime Porterhouse for Two ($125), presenting two supreme cuts in one tender presentation.
As an inside scoop for readers, Domingo says you can also request your spinach sauteed with garlic, an off-the-menu favorite.
The chef adds that it’s not too late to make Ruth’s Chris part of your Valentine’s Day celebration, as the steak house will be celebrating all week long from Feb. 11 to 19. Valentines will receive a special gift from the restaurant, which has created three special cocktails for the holiday to complement its fabulous USDA Prime steaks and fresh island seafood.
Ruth’s Chris Steak House
500 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu
Little Village Noodle House has long been islanders’ Chinatown destination for Northern-style Chinese cuisine, complete with bold and spicy flavors. But as general manager David Chang will tell you, the restaurant also is home to fusion-inspired flavors that cater to a wide range of taste buds.
One of those not-so-traditional menu items is Pecan Spinach Salad, which is priced at $10 per order and perfect for sharing family-style among two to four people. The light and healthy salad is tossed with baby spinach, mixed greens and grilled chicken. Black olives and candied pecans add contrasting flavors for a more complex bite, and for the finishing touch, citrus dressing and olive oil do the trick.
“Salad was never a big thing with Chinese culture, however, to cater to the needs of American customers, we created our own version of salad,” says Chang.
Since opening just over 15 years ago in Chinatown, Little Village has gradually placed a greater emphasis on offering health-conscious cuisine and refraining from using MSG. This salad is a perfect example of that, especially with its all-natural ingredients.
Chang mentions that Little Village’s Fresh Air Flown Branzino Sea Bass also is worth trying, as it’s steamed with ginger and onion for an introductory price of $25.95. The special is available in limited quantities, so be sure to try it ASAP.
Little Village Noodle House
1113 Smith St., Chinatown