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BEST SALAD Minneapolis 2002 -

Readers' Choice: Olive Garden

It being the 21st Century and all, it seems a shame that salads should remain relegated to their parochial pre-meal habitat. Yes, some salads are better than others, but when you get down to brass tacks, they're mostly just vegetables dressed up in vinegar. Let Jasmine's bún salad therefore stand as a Declaration of Salad Independence. Constructed with layers of rice noodles, lettuce, carrots, bean sprouts, and mint leaves, Jasmine's salads are a universe of taste unto themselves. Though the dishes come topped with sweet strips of beef, pork, or charbroiled shrimp, Jasmine's super-nice proprietors, Vinh and Le Troung, also work magic with mock duck or just plain old veggies (few of the vegetarian options are listed on the menu, but just ask). And priced between $5.75 and $6.45, these dishes make for a particularly judicious repast. If only all the salads of the world would unite beneath Jasmine's banner.

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