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Tender Greens in Downtown Culver City

p
pirikara Jul 28, 2006 12:31 AM

Ok, I really wanted to check out Ford's Filling Station but didn't have the funds, so I slipped into the shop next door, Tender Greens.

It was hard to figure out their concept at first. They boast an extensive menu of leafy stuff, but there's also listings for meat dishes. Flexitarian food?! I tried the chipotle chicken salad and my parents shared a cobb salad. Each cost $9, which in this day and age is pretty reasonable.

Behind a high glass partition, the chef tosses the ingredients in front of you and sends it to the cashier. When I finally saw my plate o salad I admit I was disappointed by the measly portion. California Chicken Cafe had conditioned me to eat more than I could chew, and well, this salad was maybe 1/3 the size of a CCC dish.

But when I took a bite, it was absolutely delicious. These guys know how to toss salad! Unlike other places, this salad is very refined. Never used that word in this context but it's true.

Everything is cut just a tad bit smaller and blends so well it nearly melts in your mouth. From my scattered memory, the chipotle salad was mixed with smoky chicken, crispy wonton bits cilantro, mixed greens, queso fresco, almond slivers, and nicely lubricated with mashed avocado and a creamy ____ dressing. I nearly licked the plate.

I admit, I could've eaten another salad but that woulda set me back another 9 bucks. So I summoned my inner waif and held out.

Defintely not a place for sumo wrestlers but very tasty nonetheless.

Tender Greens
9523 Culver Boulevard
Culver City, CA 90232

addenum: ok, it's an organic joint. Everything is locally grown.

  1. t
    triplecreme Aug 5, 2006 10:51 AM

    My friends and I were there for dinner a couple days ago and we asked one of the owners how many covers they do a day, he said 600-700! That's pretty amazing for a brand new place.

    http://triplecreme.blogspot.com/2006/...

    2 Replies
    1. re: triplecreme
      m
      MrShoop Aug 5, 2006 06:04 PM

      What's a cover?

      1. re: MrShoop
        c
        carter Aug 5, 2006 06:10 PM

        A customer, and thus 600-700 people per day, which is one h... of a lot of folks opening and closing those front doors!

    2. p
      pirikara Jul 28, 2006 06:30 PM

      I just took a look at my picture of the chipotle salad and noticed the lettuce pieces are actually quite big! Yet, it's still much "softer" than most popular salads. Perhaps the secret is in the dressing? Lubricating but not overbearing? Or perhaps it's the lettuce? Less iceberg and bitter gourmet greens. Perhaps organic IS the way to go?

      www.mikeyhateseverything.blogspot.com

      1. t
        triplecreme Jul 28, 2006 04:59 PM

        I was there last night, and they we packed. But our food was fabulous. I had the chicken hot plate, and the Yukon Gold mashed potatoes were wonderful. they have since added "order here" stickers to the glass - much needed.
        http://triplecreme.blogspot.com/2006/...

        1. c
          cvc Jul 28, 2006 01:20 PM

          We've been twice both at the peak of lunch with the line 20-30 deep and have been amazed that by the time we picked up our food there was either a table or counter space. The Cobb is excellent, much tastier than some $15 versions around town with the steak salad also very good. Great toasted bread is served with both. A convivial spirit manages to make its way even to the helpful bus staff. And with cupcake emporiums popping up every five minutes who knew that this place would be serving some of the best. Try the lemon or the chocolate toffee. Wednesday afternoon a server on the patio of Ford's FS stood there watching the proceedings with envy.

          1. m
            MareZeeDotes Jul 28, 2006 12:14 PM

            I've eaten here twice and both time the experience was so-so. I don't like that they keep the chicken under a heat lamp to slice and serve when ordered. You take your first bite and it's already luke-warm. It would make a big difference if they could flash it in a saute pan to give it some temperature before being sent out. I mention this not because I had it on a salad, but because I ordered a "Hot plate"... uhhh?

            You've sold me though - next time I will get the chipotle chicken salad. Thanks for the recommendation!

            1. m
              mehfactor Jul 28, 2006 04:55 AM

              The food at Tender Greens is alright, but I think it's a miserable dining experience - at least at lunchtime. The restaurant is so crowded, and most of it is outdoors on a patio that just bakes in the heat and sun. It doesn't help that the tables (some of which don't feature umbrellas) reflect hot, blinding lot. I felt faint and nauseous halfway through my cobb salad.

              Also, you have to get your food before you can hunt for a table, which means you might be holding your tray, standing about awkwardly for 10-15 minutes.

              1 Reply
              1. re: mehfactor
                p
                pirikara Jul 28, 2006 05:49 AM

                yeah, I can only imagine going during lunch or even on a weekend night. I went on a Wednesday evening. The joint was half empty. (Or should I say half full?!) It was great.

              2. y
                yum Jul 28, 2006 04:24 AM

                are they still closed on mondays??

                2 Replies
                1. re: yum
                  liu Jul 28, 2006 04:47 AM

                  You probably already know this: their website says "Closed Mondays until further notice."
                  I just spoke with them (#310.842-8300) and they said that they are still closed on Mondays.
                  They are not very swift at answering their phone. I told them that I was on hold for about 15 minutes, but he (whoever finally answered) didn't care. I hope he cares more about his food...?

                  1. re: yum
                    p
                    pirikara Jul 28, 2006 05:47 AM

                    Yes they are. I noticed the sign that mentions this. Too bad =(

                  2. c
                    carter Jul 28, 2006 01:15 AM

                    Apparently it was a lime dressing, per their website:
                    http://www.tendergreensfood.com/

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: carter
                      liu Jul 28, 2006 01:23 AM

                      Carter -- you are amazing! I was about to post this, and you got there so fast!
                      The lime dressing is quite refreshing and I much preferred it over another that I tried on a different salad at our table.
                      They have a nice website -- thanks!

                    2. Chowpatty Jul 28, 2006 01:08 AM

                      I guess I ordered wrong -- the ahi tuna nicoise was not nearly as good. If I ever return to Culver City, I'll have to try the chipotle chicken salad.
                      Mine really tasted as if everything in the salad had been soaking in water all day.
                      http://eatingla.blogspot.com/2006/07/...

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: Chowpatty
                        liu Jul 28, 2006 01:13 AM

                        "...soaking in water all day..." Are we eating at the same place?

                        Please do give it another try and order the chipotle chicken salad (I left off the cheese and the crispy wontons and they obliged). Also, do check out their fresh fruit drinks -- perhaps they rotate depending on what is available and in season. I would love some fresh kiwi juice or some fresh peach juice!

                        1. re: Chowpatty
                          Skorgirl Jul 28, 2006 07:28 AM

                          Chowpatty -- I had the exact same reaction to the ahi tuna nicoise. The lettuce leaves were enormous and the toppings scant. Everything was blander than I expected. I am supportive of paying more money to deliver food of this concept, but I think they could stand to improve the ahi tuna salad. On the positive side, the one time I had their tomato soup, I found it fresh and delicious. I am willing to give them another try but won't have that salad again.

                          1. re: Chowpatty
                            Skorgirl Jul 28, 2006 07:28 AM

                            Chowpatty -- I had the exact same reaction to the ahi tuna nicoise. The lettuce leaves were enormous and the toppings scant. Everything was blander than I expected. I am supportive of paying more money to deliver food of this concept, but I think they could stand to improve the ahi tuna salad. On the positive side, the one time I had their tomato soup, I found it fresh and delicious. I am willing to give them another try but won't have that salad again.

                          2. liu Jul 28, 2006 01:03 AM

                            I pretty much had the same reaction as you did -- how could this salad be good? I also ordered the chipotle chicken salad with a glass of real watermelon juice - no sugar!

                            My salad was terrific as was the watermelon juice! I tasted the flatiron steak salad; the steak was very tender and tasty, but I preferred my salad dressing and salad. I would order the chipotle chicken salad again! I think that is one of their most popular.

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