The new Genghis Khan salad with Sriracha dressing at Mad Greens is killer
Sriracha -- or cock sauce, as it's commonly called -- is that fiery red chile sauce that comes in the squeezy bottle with the green tip and the white picture of a rooster. It's also popular as hell right now, gracing the big-box grocery-chain aisles and the tables of fast-casual restaurants across town -- when just a decade ago I had to hunt the stuff down in Asian markets like I was trying to find a unicorn in the deep, dark woods. It's so universal today, in fact, that our local salad chain, Mad Greens, even offers a Sriracha-almond vinaigrette for its newest seasonal salad, the Genghis Khan, which turns out to be just as aggressively tasty as its name suggests, complete with seared, wild ahi tuna on top.
J. Wohletz The new Genghis Khan salad at Mad Greens.
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Mad Greens was first planted in the southern suburbs by Marley Hodgson and Dan Long in 2004; there are currently eleven locations along the Front Range, with out-of-state expansion plans sprouting. The concept is salads and more salads, quick-fast-in-a-hurry, with healthy sides, offered in a spartan environment appealing to a decent-sized demographic of young, hip, health-conscious (there are vegan and vegetarian options) urban diners.
J. Wohletz The seared ahi tuna add-on.
I was disappointed the first time I dined at the Cherry Creek location of Mad Greens -- the dining room was in dire need of cleaning and the salad ingredients were unsatisfying -- but my recent dinner visit to the 16th Street Mall location at 1600 Stout Street was a real improvement. The dining room was sparkling clean, without a stray napkin or straw wrapper to be seen, and the super-friendly staff was very attentive.
For example, they asked what amount of dressing I wanted on my salad -- a little, a medium amount or a lot. This is a small detail that makes a big difference with entrée salads, because the best salad in the universe can easily be ruined by too much -- or not enough -- dressing. But this dressing was the housemade, spicy Sriracha-almond vinaigrette -- so I asked for a lot. Beyond that, the Genghis Khan includes baby greens, diced ripe mango, shredded carrots, roasted sweet corn, crisp wonton strips and chopped green onions.
Mad Greens has also rolled out a new protein add-on -- wild, seared-rare ahi tuna -- that's recommended for the Genghis Kahn but available on any salad. The tuna is thick-sliced, hand-crusted and seared just to the point of grill marks and grey edges. The upcharge for the tuna is formidable -- $5 for a three-to-four ounce serving; since the regular-sized salad I'd ordered cost $5.60, the tuna topping basically doubled the price.
So I was seriously hoping that this was going to be good.