Chop’t is as Terrifying As You Would Think


I did a bad bad thing last week.  After reading about Chop’t in the New York Post, I was compelled to go and check out their Po’boy Salad.  Anybody who reads this blog with any frequency knows I have a special place in my heart for New Orleans- and even a generic salad chain like Chop’t can get me to pay attention to them by making something called a Po’boy Salad.  What does that even mean?  And quite frankly, how could I not? 


Walking into Chop’t was a particularly terrifying experience.  As described in the Post article, the place is packed, and very intimidating (the menu is very long and if you don’t know exactly what you want you’ll hold everything up), and while I find salad places to be scary enough on their own- imagine how much scarier it becomes when you put giant machetes in the hands of the people making these salads.  It’s much harder to look at people with derision in your eyes when they’re holding giant salad cutting knives.

Despite being excited mildly interested, I should have known something was wrong immediately when I spotted the ingredient list of the Po’boy Salad.  Fried chicken (that’s good), lettuce (sure), tomato (makes sense), and cheese (???).  Cheese?  I don’t seem to remember cheese on any Po’boy I’ve ever had.  I do remember pickles.  But there are no pickles on this salad.  I don’t know what I was expecting, and I probably would have just turned and walked out right then, if I hadn’t spotted spotted something that actually stirred a bit of genuine excitement inside me.  Something so grotesque (in a good way) that it could actually have a chance of redeeming this monstrosity of a lunch establishment.  

General Tso’s Salad Dressing.  You’re kidding me right?  Chop’t has a general tso’s salad dressing?!?  If there is one thing I love more than New Orleans, it is cheap and crappy Americanized Chinese food. 

Up until now, in my eyes, the only thing that could redeem a salad (which I almost never eat, and when I do- it’s a pretty significant occasion) is fried chicken.  Putting fried chicken in a salad is like a slap in the face to the salad itself- whose whole purpose to just to exist as a healthy alternative to a lunch that actually tastes good. Adding fried chicken also causes most salad eaters to utter words that I say all the time… “then why bother eating a salad.”  Exactly.  Why bother?


But this general tso’s thing… this takes it to another level.  I could have left Chop’t that day… but why lose the opportunity to create something so amazing, it could actually elevate a salad place to Midtown Lunch status.  Something so grotesque, that hard core Midtown Lunchers would eat it, but salad losers couldn’t denounce it- because it was created at one of their meccas.  The Po’boy Salad with General Tso’s Dressing.  How… could… I… not.


It doesn’t look like much, but you can see the fried chicken on top (and there was a ton of still unexplicable cheese) but all together it was Midtown Lunch worthy… sort of.  Despite having fried chicken, and a general tso’s-ish taste created by the salad dressing- it was still a salad, only made great by the looks you can get when telling people you are eating a Po’boy salad with general tso’s dressing. 

As I checked out, the lady at the cash register asked me if I wanted a frequent salad card.  Um… nope.  I’m pretty sure I’m not going to need it.

Chop’t (Multiple Locations)

  • 60 E. 56th (btw. Madison & Park), 212-750-CHOP
  • 165 E. 52nd (btw. Lex+3rd), 212-421-2300
  • 145 W. 51st (btw. 6+7th), 212-974-8140


  • C’mon, Zach, don’t be a hater. Can’t we all just get along? The salad was not invented merely as an arch-rival for your own favorite foods. Many food-positive people, myself included, enjoy a salad as part of a food-lovin’ lifestyle. Did you know that cheese, meat, good olive oil, soy sauce and nuts could all be party of a salad? You must know that bread (croutons) frequently make it into a salad too.

    Personally, I tend to be sandwich-averse because I’m very, very picky about bread. But salads are another matter; if the croutons stink, I can just eat them quickly without paying much attention.

    Did you know that bacon, fried eggs, and chicken schmaltz can all be part of a salad? Well, they can. Okay, maybe not all part of the same salad, but still.

  • How much was that thing, $10?


  • I… I’m … wait a second. Are you complaining about the presence of cheese?!

    *stands here with jaw dropped waaay loooow*

  • IMHO, the key to Chopt’s success is that they actually have a proper menu where you choose from a list of maybe 15 salads. Most delis now seem go with the dumb system where they don’t have any preset salads at all and you *have to* specify every f***** ingredient. That’s why I go there instead of Europa next door on 51st anyhow, despite the queue.

  • A po’boy salad with general Tso’s dressing.

    The lunch equivalent of calling a male escort service and ordering a handsome, confident man of the world – and getting DocChuck

  • What’s a salad?

  • Zach, that salad looks pretty weak. I know where you might find a salad worthy of ML approval. The Bistro on 49th bet. Park & Madison has an everything-you-want salad for just $7. The have fried chicken, and will add tons of it if you ask. Also grilled chicken, ham and turkey cubes, seafood sticks, several cheeses (cubes of feta, mozzarella balls, shredded cheddar), sliced egg, grape leaves, and, yes, veggies. All the add-ins you want, only $7. It is a meal and a half, and puts those yuppie, ridiculously overpriced $1.50-extra-for-3-bits-of-meat salad places to shame. No General Tso’s dressing alas, but they have lots of others to choose from.

  • There’s nothing wrong with eating salad, I just don’t see it as a meal. I usually have salad of some kind with both my lunch and my dinner. I look for weird stuff to put in my dressings, make croutons, get dried fruit in there, etc. I’m pro-salad. I just see it as an accompaniment.

    I’m still mystified about what qualities that po boy salad has to give it its name.

  • At $10 a hit, if you keep on eating it you will most certainly find yourself po’.

  • nice detailed description of the whole chopt experience, similar to ours i think.

  • funny stuff Zach..doesn’t look great though and how much was that thing?

  • The Dean Street Cafe in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, has a good oyster po-boy.

  • How I adore Chicago!!!

    I met my wife (ours is a May-Dec relationship, if that excites you) in Chicago when I was a young sailor at the Great Lakes Naval Station and she was a immigrant child from Mexico (Puerto Peñasco) — a comely street urchin living in the Pilsen neighborhood, home to (in my highly educated opinion) Chicago’s best Mexican food. And, by the way, where the fried chicken salad was INVENTED!!

    Not sure why ANYONE would consider eating fried chicken salad anywhere else.

    Or why you would befoul it with dressing better suited to cheap Chinese food. I will not comment further on THAT!

  • I thought Elizabeth the affluent pube-plucker was asian?

    So how is that man cave doing there, Doc?

  • No Doc E (Elizabeth, my wife) is not asian. Though the asians ARE an attractive people.

  • Needs Butter,BlackPudding and Foie Gras.

    Liv is getting Divorced and the Present Mrs McBagel is getting edgy…breakfast in bed yesterday no less!…yes yes…that was for a full pass to Wimbledon…..hmmm marias legs.

    I’m at a very iffy age.

    RE:Elizabeth the pube plucking wetback Phd……isn’t she From Puerto Pubenesca Putatarteta?

  • I really don’t care where DocSlot is from, I do know everyone has their price but it’s inconceivable to me that there are enough pesos/yuan on this earth to forge that unholy alliance anywhere but in the confines of that less than filled-to-the- brim noggin.

    As far as Liv goes, as much as I have admired her beauty and ample feminine charms, I don’t think I could ever associate with someone who presumably slipped through a womb that once contained, however briefly, Steven Tyler’s shlong (or lack thereof).

  • DocChuck does occasionally dress me up in a Dora the Explorer outfit, complete with jet black wig (if such things titillate you) and backpack, shouting “Boots! Do you have the golden condom!?” while he plows ahead. He dresses Twitchy in a monkey outfit during these times, which Twitchy says itches him terribly.

  • It might be because I’m from WI, but seriously salad without cheese?! That’s gross.

  • 2000 calories of burgers is the same as 2000 calories of salad. People are fooling themselves w/ the calorie counts.. I bet there are easily 50+ grams of fat in that salad.

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