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Winter Salads

You vowed to be good and eat your veggies in 2002, right? These crunchy, tasty salads will help your resolve -- no crummy winter tomatoes required.

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1.Lupa
Escarole, the undersung endive, makes a hardy bed for zesty red onion, toasted walnuts, and a flurry of shaved foglia de noci, a creamy pecorino. Almost worth resisting the salumi's siren call. (170 Thompson Street; 212-982-5089.)

2. Verbena
Greenmarket foragers Diane Forley and Michael Otsuka paint a pretty plate with bitter Belgian endive, pale-green Bibb lettuce, grated Gruyère, and a smattering of ruby pomegranate seeds, splashed with green-apple vinaigrette. (54 Irving Place; 212-260-5454.)

3. Beppe
Cesare Casella brings new meaning to the phrase bean counter: The man likes his legumes. And so do we. His warm seven-bean salad, made from rare heirloom varieties, is exquisitely dressed, the beans perfectly tender but firm. (45 East 22nd Street; 212-982-8422.)

4. Aquavit
Beets and goat cheese are a classic combo, but the innovative Marcus Samuelsson uses sweet-tart persimmons where the beets should be. A thatch of greenery, tempura pine nuts, a stripe of balsamic reduction, and pickled watermelon radish complete the edible canvas. (13 West 54th Street; 212-307-7311.)

5. La Brunette
Growing up, Vong graduate Jacques Gautier must have been quite the Lincoln Logs engineer. You almost regret toppling his visually intriguing tower of purple potatoes and haricots verts, dressed with a rich aïoli. (300 North 6th Street, Brooklyn; 718-384-5800.)


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