Lettuce wraps are similar to sandwich wraps, but they utilize lettuce instead of flatbread to contain their contents. In recent years they have become a trendy menu item. Here are some standouts on local menus.
Chicken Lettuce Wraps, Chester’s
This dish showcases tender ground chicken sautéed with shiitake mushrooms, water chestnuts, peanut sauce and plum sauce. The resulting flavor is complex with a bit of spicy-sweetness. A generous portion of meat is served aside Bibb lettuce leaves, fresh cabbage slaw topped with wonton strips, and extra in-house plum sauce. Assembly is left to your discretion. Caution: there’s temptation to taste a spoonful of the meat before ever getting your wrap rolled, as the aromas are difficult to resist.
Chili Spiced Steak Lettuce Wraps, The Loop
If you’re looking for something with a little more crunch, head over to The Loop. Here firmer lettuce leaves come filled with Napa cabbage slaw tossed with strips of grilled flank steak. It has a bit of a kick, likely due to the added jalapeno and the dressing used. Topped with guacamole, a sprinkle of black and white sesame seeds balances the flavor and texture of the filling.
Blackened Salmon Lettuce Wraps, The Redwood Room
Great flavors await seafood lovers with the pairing of fresh fruit and salmon. A generous portion of fresh peach salsa is placed on leaves of butter lettuce then topped with pieces of salmon (hand-rubbed with a house spice mix then grilled to blacken and cooked to perfection). The natural fruit flavors in the salsa, along with the onion and cilantro, prove an exceptional complement to the spice of the rub. Warning: the salsa makes this a little messier to eat but that won’t prevent a return visit from me.
Use your fingers to fold or roll the lettuce leaf to pick the wrap up off the plate. It’s a good idea to have a napkin nearby, and better yet, lean over your plate as you bite in. Indeed, sauces and salsa are known to drip out; all the better if it lands on your plate. You can use a utensil, or if no one is looking, a quick swipe with your finger lets you enjoy every last drop.