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Finally went to Tender Greens

We went to Culver City Sunday early evening to eat and then go to the Cozy for some shuffleboard. We pulled in front of Sabor a Mexico and it was closed! Starting July 8th, they close at 3p on Sundays. Broken hearted, I pulled myself together and tried to think of another place to eat. I wasn't in an any Mexican food mood; I was in a Sabor mood. We passed Tender Greens and decided to give it a shot, as my second choice, Markie's, would've left us nearly physically incapable of continuing the night on our feet.
About Tender Greens: I liked the airy, flowy space and the large wall mounted menu offered some interesting choices. I opted for the flat iron steak sandwich with a caesar salad. My girlfriend ordered the large Mediterranean salad, their version of a Greek salad but with spinach.
I was slightly turned off by the assembly line, very measured in terms of portions, style of salad and sandwich preparation. It comes off cold and impersonal, kind of like a bartender measuring shots in a jigger to make a drink. Just like I want him to spill a little alcohol, I'd like the sandwich guy to give me enough steak to make a sandwich have steak in every bite.
The steak sandwich is four strips of steak, roasted red peppers, and mayonnaise on a lightly griddled ciabatta roll. If there were more steak and the steak itself had more character--char, beef flavour, juice--then the sandwich would have glowed in its simplicity. As it was, it was moderately enjoyable, inoffensive, and dainty. The side caesar had fresh, crisp lettuce, but the dressing was flavourless. It needed punch. it was punchless.
The large Mediterranean, priced the same at $10, was overpriced comparatively, having no meat and not enough of the greek ingredients. It was a spinach salad first; Greek second.
This is a good place to go if you want to be light on your feet after eating and you want an enjoyable spot to eat your food. This is not a soul satisfying great food experience type of restaurant that you'll make your friends try.

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  1. I agree. I've been twice and both times I had the cobb salad. While the ingredients were good, it lacked punch and I left not exactly hungry, but wanting something more.

    1. i think your word, 'dainty,' well-describes the food there.
      imho, it would be ok for a ladies lunch, but even though i'm a lady, it wasn't enough for me for dinner.

      1. I've been there about ten times, and I have to say their dishes are VERY hit-and-miss, although each dish is pretty consistent with itself from visit to visit. So it took about 5 or 6 visits to really find the 2 or so great items that I always get now. But I certainly wouldn't encourage anyone to have to do that ... I just happen to work near there so it comes up as a lunch option very often.

        One thing I *never* order there anymore is anything with their chicken. Not a fan of their chicken at all.

        2 Replies
        1. re: QualityMart

          Would you mind sharing those 2 (or so) great items you have discovered?

          1. re: Servorg

            Well I don't think there's necessarily a single answer since there are countless ways to combine things on the menu, and everyone has particular tastes, but sure, I can tell you what I usually order:

            Basically, it's all about the hot plates. Their mashes potatoes are superb, and the "simple salads" (which come w/ the hot plate) are better, salad-wise, than most of the salad entrees, IMHO. So I usually get:

            - ahi tuna w/ arugula, balsamic, and tomato.
            - steak w/ ceasar salad

            Also, if I'm in the mood to overpay, I'll also get a side of the cauliflower ($5), which is reeeally good but incredibly buttery. Between that and the mashed potatoes it's easy to walk out of this salad joint with a pretty fattening lunch!

            There are a bunch of things on the menu I haven't tried yet, but I got tired of walking out unsatisfied that I've given up on experimenting.

        2. Hi, and thank you for providing an alternate take on Tender Greens, to those of us yet to sample therefrom. After a tremendous let down upon trying The Dressing Room (in the Valley), I was hoping that Tender Greens might be everything that The Dressing Room was not ( a quick aside: I really wanted to like The Dressing Room, but for almost $10, I received about $1 worth of salad/veggies and protein, all rather too finely diced to even discern particular ingredients; the death-stroke came when the cashier started filling out a 'salad order form' for a patron *right on the cutting board surface* where they dice the salad ingredients into pulp! )... I may yet try Tender Greens, based on some flattering photos of the chow as presented by previous posters. As forlorn as your above-described experience was, Tender Greens still sounds a least a notch above The Dressing Room ( did I mention that I really wanted to like The Dressing Room? :-(

          2 Replies
          1. re: silence9

            Odd, at the dressing room, I get a HUGE salad with tons of stuff. Then, I don't get a pre made, I make up my own.

            You can ask them not to dice it.

            I hate "dainty" salads and sandwiches

            1. re: Diana

              Hi... Perhaps our day at The Dressing Room was an off-night (early Sunday evening), and yes, I had one of the pre-selected salad options. Also odd (as a carb-lover): there was no bread to be had at all! They had a huge tray of just-baked bread, and when I asked to buy a piece of it, they told me it was not for sale, as they were going to turn the entire tray of baked bread into croutons... Lastly, I think I am jaded, as a secret Soup Plantation fan. If I don't get 5 pounds of salad foodstuff for my $8, I tend to feel underprivileged ;-). But back to Tender Greens: I'm still very curious as to whether the food matches the tasty photos (previously) posted...

          2. Sorry but I'm still a big big fan of Tender Greens. I usually get the Chinese Chicken Salad which is one of the freshest and largest versions of it that I've ever had. It's not dainty at all. It's huge and filled with tons of great fresh mixed greens, sprouts and an entire breast of chicken. I think $10 is perfectly fine for all this plus the freshness of it all.

            And their "hot plate" piled with mashed potatoes, salad, and a meat (I've had the chcken and the steak) is also a great satisfying meal.

            Caveat - I'm not one for heavy dressings or marinades, and I really like that Tender Greens is more focused on fresh unadulterated ingredients. I actually like tasting the mixed greens with just a touch of dressing, and a fresh grilled chicken breast. I wonder if you request extra dressing or extra cheese or something, if that might make a difference for you.

            -----
            Tender Greens
            9523 Culver Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232

            1 Reply
            1. re: LisaStitch

              Lisa, I agree with your take on Tender Greens. My wife and I love it, and it's our go-to place for a fresh, healthy lunch. It is definitely not a place to go to if you want to get a gut-busting plate full of food. I generally leave satisfied, but with a little room left in my tummy for some dessert. I feel that portions are reasonable given the price and quality of the ingredients.

              I personally love the steak plate with mashed potatoes and the spinach salad. yum!

            2. I'll have to add my applause to Tender Greens.
              Tender Greens is about high quality ingredients: very fresh, beautiful lettuces from a local farm, free range chicken, etc.
              Their salads are not skimpy. I have been there many many times and have taken both men and women there, and everyone's left satisfied.
              Their prices are outrageously low for the quality and size of food that you get. Do they sort of measure their portions? Of course. If they didn't their prices would go up.
              Men whom I've taken there who don't really care for salads, love their sandwiches and hot plates. (note: every woman I've taken there happen to like salads)
              I particularly love their cobb salad, and it's very filling.
              If you like high quality ingredients done up simply, to show off the deliciousness of those high quality ingredients, you'll like Tender Greens.

              1. I'm on the "dainty" side when it comes to TG. I went when they first opened, and posted that I thought their salads weren't quite big enough, I went with two other women, and they agreed. Adding cheese or dressing wouldn't make it more filling to me, just more gloopy. I'd really like more veggies and protein. I haven't ordered their chicken since that first time since it was a very, very fatty chicken thigh. I take it from an above post that they now serve chicken breast? That's a welcome change, and may entice me back. One thing I do really like is the ahi tuna salad, it's really good, but again too small. The "crouton" thing they serve is disgusting, dried hard bread drizzled with oil. Ew. I don't hate TG, and there are some things I really like about it. I'm glad it's in the neighborhood, but I go there rarely (and I live and work in CC.)

                It's not a matter of not liking simple ingredients, I do, I'm a big salad fan. I just need more (and I don't need to grease my hips to get through a door or anything!)

                2 Replies
                1. re: writergirl

                  They have improved GREATLY from when they first opened... I'll spare you the horror of my first visit! :P But I have since given them a few tries, including one about a month ago and was more than happy with what I ordered....

                  However, I too lean towards the 'dainty' side of things, even after my revisits. For me, Tender Greens is a great lunch option (I perfer light lunches) or an option for when you you want something 'light' and statisfying. If you are looking for something gut busting, then just go up the street a little bit and go to Sabor Al Mexico... A couple of their Quesadillas DF and an Horchata will leave you a happy person! :)

                  --Dommy!

                  1. re: writergirl

                    Weird about the chicken thigh. I've been going to TG since they opened and with a couple of exceptions regarding service, not food, every visit has been great. I've never seen chicken thighs there, only chicken breast, and I check out everything as I walk up to the cashier. Maybe they tried out chicken thighs the week I didn't go, and clearly it was a loser, as I've just never seen it there. You're right about that crouton, it could be improved.

                  2. I was actually really excited to go to Tender Greens because I'd heard such great things but I was really disappointed with my actual meal. The ambiance is great and really makes you wish you could love the food but it simply lacks flavor. I ordered the cobb salad and kind of had to force myself to eat it. The dressing was really oily and tasteless and the chicken had so much fat on it, I barely could eat any of it. I also wasn't very impressed by the lemonade. Let's just say I'm not going back...

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: msportobello

                      Yep, like I said above: their chicken is horrible and their full salads are pretty lackluster.

                      1. re: QualityMart

                        Okay group just hd dinner there with my 10 year old. He had the hot plate of flat iron steak and caeser and I the Ahi and spinach goat cheese. Geese people for 10 bucks and nice yukon gold mashed and a big crouton/carlic bread thing. It was awsome. We did clear our plates and it was ver filling I am 6 feet 220.. I must confess that I did finish of his mashed yukons..