Tangaroa Terrace Salad @ Tangaroa Terrace

Price: $10.99

When: December 12, 2016, 7:15 PM

Reservations: n/a

Verdict? Not recommended

So I’m at Tangaroa Terrace, and pretty happy with my pork flatbread. It’s hitting the spot. I’m smiling. It’s a good evening.

But there’s one other thing I’m keen to try.

See, Tangaroa Terrace has an eponymous dish – the Tangaroa Terrace Salad. I’m a sucker for stuff like this. If you’re naming a dish after the establishment, it suggests it’s a specialty. A differentiator. A standout. Something you’re known for.

I have to see what’s going on.

I chat with the cashier. She tells me it comes standard with crispy tofu. You can swap the tofu for grilled shrimp for a buck. I tell her I’ll take the shrimp. A few minutes later, the salad appears.

First: its served in an oversized, oddly elliptical, white bowl.

Second: the salad is very colorful. There’s about 8 pieces of shrimp sitting on top of a bed of lettuce, cabbage, shredded carrot, and tomato. The dressing is a viniagrette of some kind. It all looks fresh and fairly good for you.

So I pick up the fork.

My initial bite is … meh. The flavors are all there, but oddly muted. Nothing is breaking out. The texture and crunch of the salad is good, but the rest of it is inert. Nothing’s going on.

I switch to individual ingredients. The shrimp is fairly good: lightly grilled, slightly marinated. Excellent. The romaine and cabbage are OK. The carrots and tomatoes are incredibly generic. I discover chunks of pineapple toward the bottom of the bowl, which provide this unexpected burst of sweetness.

Overall, it’s just not that good. It’s a couple notches above an airport cold-case salad: not terrible, but not great, either. It gets real monotonous, real quick. For a namesake dish, that’s disappointing. Skip this.

Not recommended.