Katie Sims / Sun Associate Editor

March 7, 2018

Be a Man (Salad)

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A bed of fries. A blanket of meat — or fried eggplant or seitan (a wheat-based meat substitute). Fruits and vegetables for flavor. A sauce or dressing. Maybe a sprinkling of cheese.

This is the “man salad,” a specialty of the downtown sandwich shop Gorgers. Though they are known for their fun and filling sandwiches, Gorgers will ditch their gloriously fluffy loaves of bread for a base of french fries at your request.

Dimly lit with classic teenage bedroom posters along one wall, Gorgers conveys a laid-back ambiance. From the bench made of snowboards to the oven fan plastered with stickers, something within this establishment is sure to catch your eye. Perusing the chalkboard menu, you can smell cooking fats and hear classic rock or hip hop; this is your ideal sub shop.

At the bottom of their menu, tucked away like a footnote, Gorgers asks, “Gluten Free?” then suggests that you “Try any of [their] subs as a Man Salad.” On their menu, it looks like an afterthought, to appease those who can’t or don’t eat gluten. But for many Gorgers regulars, it’s the star of the show.

The teriyaki man salad, with seitan (subbed for chicken) on top of fries and coated with teriyaki sauce, was flavorful, and the addition of roasted pineapple chunks and caramelized onions added little bursts of moisture, sweetness and tanginess. The texture of the seitan strips was a little spongy, but it was probably the best meat substitute for the job.

The chimichurri man salad — steak with onions, lettuce and the chimichurri sauce that gives the dish its name — was similarly tasty. The sauce to fries ratio was balanced, so that the fries were neither dry nor soggy. That said, the meat was nicely cooked but cut into miniscule pieces that made them hard to reach with a fork, especially given the comparatively large fries that lay beneath. Past the challenge of eating it, it was immensely enjoyable.

The man salad is a good gluten-free option, but it’s still just sandwich filling dumped onto fries. It turns into a heaping mess of oily materials coated in a sauce of your choice, but what’s so bad about that? The combinations are generally good, with a wide variety of fillings and sauces that complement each other.

When you order this item, you (should) know what you’re getting into.

The sheer magnitude of this dish is a little intimidating. Multiple potatoes’ worth — you can watch the cook cut them yourself — of fries and the contents of a 12-inch sub is no starter or light lunch. It’s enough for a big dinner and lunch the next day, and for $10, that’s not half bad.

After making it approximately halfway through this colossal meal, Megan remarked, “Really, the name’s the only thing holding me back.”

Oh. Right.

It’s called a man salad.

We had to look someone in the eyes and ask him for a “man salad.” It was flat out degrading.

From where does the man salad earn its virility? Are only men capable of handling the excessive volume of food, or its high concentration of carbohydrates and fats? Must men be exempt from the light and nutritious pleasure that is a healthy and well-balanced salad? Is the “salad” itself a man?

It’s worth noting that Gorgers does have salads. Normal ones with real lettuce and everything. We hope that the men who saunter into Gorgers feel safe and supported buying these salads, and that they appreciate the numerous benefits of eating fresh greens every once in a while.

We love Gorgers. We really do.

It’s across the street from the The Sun’s office, and their fries, subs, and flatbread and hummus fuel our late nights. However, the name “man salad” is truly abhorrent, and we hope to see the day when none of Gorgers’ menu items are gendered.

Serves: hunky sandwiches
Vibe: masculine
Price: $
Rating: ★★★½☆
Rating once you remember it’s called a man salad: 3.5 – 2 = ★½ ☆☆☆
Manliness After Eating:
Megan: on a scale of one to overt sexism: way too confident
Katie: on a scale of zero to 20 hours per week in the gym: seven, but talking about it all the time