I love beef.
Whether it’s a juicy hamburger hot off the grill on the Fourth of July, a perfectly broiled ribeye steak still sizzling on the plate or a plump meatball on top of spaghetti all covered with cheese, beef has always been a central part of my diet.
Sure, I’ve had to cut back on red meat in the past few months, but I still vastly prefer the taste of good ol’ 100% all-American, USDA grade A beef to a piece of poultry.
That’s why it was a bit of a surprise to me that I wasn’t thrilled with Panera’s Chopped Steak and Bleu Cheese Salad, which I tried for the first time last night for dinner. It’s one of their Premium Signature menu items so I went in expecting something that would blow me away as much as the Chopped Chicken Cobb with Avocado Salad or the Steak & White Cheddar Panini did.
Don’t get me wrong. The salad tastes good and is packed with tender slices of beef that have been cooked just enough — nice and pink in the middle like any good piece of roasted beef should be — so it’s certainly not the quality of the ingredients.
There’s just something about this particular combination of tastes that just didn’t dazzle me. Or maybe it’s just beef steak in salad in general… honestly, it’s not something I’m used to so that may have been a factor. Or perhaps it’s just that the Chopped Chicken Cobb with Avocado Salad is so damn perfect that this one simply couldn’t compare and was running a losing race from the get-go.
Whatever the reason it’s just not something that I would choose ahead of my fave 9 times out of 10. I certainly wouldn’t have any qualms about recommending it to anyone who loves beef like I do… just don’t try the Cobb salad first.