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60: Table-Side Caesar Salad from the Salt Cellar

A Spanish boquerone takes its rightful place, crowning Salt Cellar's delicious table-side Caesar.

A Spanish boquerone takes its rightful place, crowning Salt Cellar's delicious table-side Caesar.

Table-side preparation, that retro service style from steakhouses and country clubs gone by, has made its comeback at Salt Cellar.

Lighting up Bananas Foster, carving the Chateaubriand, and mixing the Caesar salad can all be done right before your eyes. And while one could argue that watching someone make a salad isn't all that exciting, it's no matter, the end result is worth all the fuss.

See also: 61: Post-Dessert Dessert at Spoon and Stable

Since all the ingredients are right there before your very eyes, there's no room for sleights of hand or shoddy product. Chef Alan Bergo uses a blend of imported Grana Padano and Pecorino cheeses and local Smude's Sunflower oil instead of olive oil for a signature clean flavor profile.

Spanish boquerones provide the umami that makes a Caesar what it is, and no ordinary croutons these -- buttery brioche is toasted to make the ultimate sponge for the ultimate vinaigrette.

The whole deal will run you $20, but remember that it's a preparation for two, and hey, dinner and a show. If salad prep isn't enough of an action item to win your world-weary heart, spring for the Bananas Foster -- $24, also for two, nothing extra for the requisite "ohh"-inspiring brandy flame-up.

Pro tip: Go with a crowd, and Bergo will serve your Caesar in a hollowed-out Grana Padano wheel, arguably an even more impressive presentation and the way it's done in Italy.

The Salt Cellar 173 Western Ave., St. Paul 651-219-4013

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