March 7, 2005 | Ask Gael
I'm in the mood for greens and crunch 

        I rack my brains and flip my files trying to please the lunch salad-cravings of my pal stationed at the Empire State Building. Not exactly fussy gourmand territory. Then I remember chef Larry Forgione’s class act at Lord & Taylor. My pal actually likes the idea of braving a department store. He loves to ogle women shopping. That’s how we discover the stylish elegance and crunch of slaw-style salads at Forgione’s An American Place. There are two comfort moods here. The avatar of American cookery’s home-style classics - meat loaf, pot roast, a Caesar with Wisconsin cheese, fruit cobbler, and Jim Beard’s berry shortcake - are always tempting. But the salad I hunger for appears on the “Menu for Healthy Lifestyles.” Finely shredded vegetable slaw comes with a choice of breast of chicken, shrimp, or salmon tossed in light orange-mint vinaigrette. The flaked Atlantic-salmon version is perfect, though the shrimp - cruelly overcooked - fail to live up to their Key West credentials. After such virtue, dessert feels obligatory. My pal succumbs to fruit cobbler. For the sake of science, I feel obliged to sample sugar-free, low-carb cheesecake. What a surprise. It’s astonishingly lush and tangy, under its mantle of carb-scant wild-blueberry sauce from my home state of Michigan.

424 Fifth Avenue near 39th Street, fifth floor. 212 827 5068



Patina Restaurant Group