“Smiling Tiger Salad” @ Napa Rose Lounge

Price: $22.00

When: March 6, 2016, 5:45 PM

Reservations: n/a

Verdict? Not recommended

After a day of Corn Dogs, Cinnamon-Apple Batons and Fried Chicken Sandwiches, a nice, fresh salad sounded like a terrific way to close out the evening. The Napa Rose Lounge offers a “Smiling Tiger Salad” on their menu – Asian greens, spicy beef – and it sounded perfect.

Sadly, it’s not great.

Things started well. The presentation is gorgeous: two pieces of deep-fried lobster, served next to a fresh assortment of greens and dotted with drops of Siracha and other flavor boosters.

The first bite was good, too. The greens are like an Asian coleslaw, with radish, carrot, and mint. The spicy beef has been chopped up into small pieces and sprinkled throughout the salad, so you’re getting a few pieces here and there. The combination delivers a nice burst of flavor. It made me smile.

The problem arrived on subsequent bites. The novelty of the flavors and textures wears off very quickly, and you realize how salty and flat many of the ingredients are. Eating becomes a chore. The lobster isn’t special or memorable. The sauces or flavor boosters aren’t doing much, either. In short: it doesn’t hang together.

Lastly, it’s expensive. For $22, I expect better.

Not recommended.