SALAD HOUSE 24 Roy's Square, at Bloor East, 416-920-4964. Hidden away in a tiny no-frills fluorescent-lit storefront, this bargain take-away specializes in expertly executed greens with a Middle Eastern accent. Though some of the mostly vegetarian lineup is sometimes unavailable or sold out at prime feeding time, what's left is worth the wait. Complete meals for $8 per person, including taxes and tip. Average main: $4.50. Open Monday to Saturday 11:30 am to 8 pm. Closed Sunday, holidays. Unlicensed. Cash only. Access: one step at door, no washrooms. Rating: NNN
as the wind whips among the towers at Yonge and Bloor, the sound system set up by the merchants of Roy's Square to serenade summer al fresco diners pumps out George Gershwin's Rhapsody In Blue to a wintry crowd of one. I've made it through yet another snow event to check out Salad House, a just-opened storefront take-away that specializes in things green and leafy. If you're lucky. Apple and beet carpaccio ($3.99)? "Not today." Cobb Salad? "Sold out." How about the watercress? "No one orders it."
Instead, I settle for an exceptionally fresh baby arugula salad (all $2.99) topped with shaved Parmigiano in a citrus 'n' shallot vinaigrette. I couple it with the everyday special, a multi-tiered terrine of lemony eggplant, peppers, carrot and zucchini (all mains $4.34), sided with tart apple-juiced mashed sweet potato and a vinegared helping of Chinese long beans.
To finish, I devour a crisply blowtorched crème brûlée and another of smooth caramel (astounding value at $1.99 each).