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Tender Greens - Open & Excellent

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Adam Fleischman Jun 17, 2006 09:27 AM

Tender Greens opened in Culver City yesterday and was packed all day. The concept is healthy fast food, as in farmers market healthy, not vegan or raw. They serve the freshest salads with ahi, flatiron steak and free range chicken. As a quick casual place, it is way tastier and lighter than the standard mexi joints like Baja Fresh. Everything is made from scratch. And it is something Culver City needs, as there is a lot of places with heavy, greasy food (see Honeys Kettle Chicken) nearby.

I had a salad with sweet baby beets and the flatiron steak, and the best lemonade I have EVER tasted. $9 for the salad. As I work in CuCi, I will be eating there regularly.

Owner is chef Eric, formerly exec chef of Shutters. Nice space too, with outdoor patio.

Link: http://www.tendergreensfood.com

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    NAspy RE: Adam Fleischman Jun 17, 2006 12:43 PM

    We drove by last night on our way to a very mediocre meal at Mercedes' Grill in Venice and saw that contiguous strip from Honey's to Fords' to Tender Greens is now swarming with people.

    Good to hear about another great restaurant in the area.

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      peterx RE: Adam Fleischman Jun 24, 2006 09:28 PM

      Went for a "quick" lunch on Wednesday, June 21. It wasn't quick, but my chicken sandwich and a small side spinach salad were great. A little pricey for an everyday lunch at $12+ with a lemonade. BTW, I agree the lemonade was really good--not too tart, not too sweet and a decent size.

      It took about 15-20 minutes to get my food after being at the end of the ordering line of 6-7 people. It is not fast (or slow) food--certainly, the quality isn't fast food. By the time I left, there were about 25 people waiting to order. They seem to have a bunch of people, maybe a dozen or more, working in the restaurant, but everyone was moving pretty fast. I was probably a little sensitive to time because I perceived it would be a quick lunch. Next time I'll factor in the potential for a wait and hopefully be able to relax and enjoy another tasty meal.

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        MrShoop RE: Adam Fleischman Jun 24, 2006 09:41 PM

        Had dinner last night; it is worth checking out. Chicken plate w/spinich salad, Vegan salad, chicken soup, and a glass of sancerre. The chicken soup felt home made and was great. The free range chicken plate was good, but not great. The vegan salad was really fun and flavorful. It was nice to be able to glass of wine at a quick service restaurant. Overall a really pleasant space, fun menu, and good value. Is it crowded at lunch?

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          writergirl RE: Adam Fleischman Jun 25, 2006 12:53 AM

          I work in CC as well, and dropped by earlier this week for lunch. There was no one in line when we showed up, but it took a strangely long amount of time for the staff to take our order. There was a lot of staff on duty, but they were all milling about, and doing other things behind the counter.

          The salads we had, Cobb and ahi tuna, were very tasty. But the other women in my group and I agreed they were small for the price. They came with a piece of cold, stale tasting bread with some sort of unflavorful oil on it. I think it was supposed to be a "crouton." Also, they neglected to put bacon in one of the Cobbs! I also took a chicken sandwich to-go for my husband. It was so fatty he couldn't eat it. The lemonade was tasty though!

          Overall, the salads were yummy, and the space is gorgeous, but I think they have a few kinks to work out.

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            blk RE: Adam Fleischman Jun 25, 2006 04:15 AM

            A friend and I went for lunch on Friday. I had the nicoise (ahi tuna) salad and she had the Chinese chicken. She said the chicken was chewy (and didn't finish it) and while mine was pretty good, I didn't think it was the best nicoise I've ever had. Additionally, I'm pretty sure it made me kind of sick a little later. My stomach feels a little weird even today. Good thing it's generally iron-clad.

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              bixhenry RE: Adam Fleischman Jun 30, 2006 02:33 PM

              My wife and I went to Tender Greens for lunch yesterday. She's a private chef and cooking instructor who works nearby, so this was her third time there, my first. She had the Cobb Salad, I had the Chinese Chicken Salad. A very nice meal, I must say. I thought the portions were quite plentiful and tasty. I'm not sure about it, but the chicken in her salad seemed grilled, while mine tasted poached - hers tasted better, naturally. That was the only complaint I had - the grilled chicken would've been the perect touch. Wonderful Roma Tomato and Basil Soup (though the pesto splash on top was unnecessary). She drank a watermelon Agua Fresca - delicious, while my lemonade was really good but not close to the agua fresca.

              Friendly, quick service, reasonable prices, and market-fresh, tasty food. We'll definitely be coming back.

              1. Dommy RE: Adam Fleischman Jun 30, 2006 03:45 PM

                We went this past week at ~2pm and ordered the grilled Veggie Salad and carrot top.

                The grilled veggies were good! They even included a grilled tomato and we felt the salad was a decent size (Not as huge the salads at Panns or CPK and their ilk, but a good size). However, the parmesan cheese they put on it tasted RANCID!

                The Carrot Top was good too, not dry at all, but it was definatly on the small side.

                So the jury is still out for us. As mentioned the space is indeed LOVELY. But I admit, I after reading the rave on top, I was expecting something a little more, but I love soups and lemonade so we'll be back to try those!

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                  tissue RE: Adam Fleischman Jun 30, 2006 08:10 PM

                  Ok I went there for lunch yesterday and LOVED IT. Overall, portions are not small. But the MEAT/FISH portions are small. A little bit bigger than a deck of cards. I had the hangar steak salad with butter lettuce and my coworker had nicoise . The dressing was nice and oily, kinda like the salad I had at Ammo. They have fresh lemonade and I had a lemon cupcake that I really liked. I think if I ordered a hot plate, I would have been really dissapointed with the portion size. I'm used to eating a larger amount of protein. But when it was in the salad, I thought it was fine. They do a good job with the grill. Service was really fast even though there was a line. I haven't had a chance to try everything but I really enjoyed my salad.

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                    Foodie Universe RE: Adam Fleischman Jul 5, 2006 04:45 PM

                    I'm not sure what's so great about the lemonade--I wished I'd gone with one of the microbrews instead--but most of the food I tried was very good, though it wasn't served hot. I'd get the flatiron steak sandwich, the spinach salad, and the lemon cupcake again, but I'd skip the grilled chicken and the butter lettuce salad. The mashed potatoes were also very good. Service was fast (maybe they could have spent some more time making my food hot?).

                    http://foodieuniverse.blogspot.com/20...

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                      Toni RE: Adam Fleischman Jul 12, 2006 07:58 PM

                      Based on your recommendation, we've been to Tender Greens twice now. The food was excellent both times. We've had the Spinach Salad with goat cheese and hazelnuts, Cobb Salad, Chicken with yukon gold mashed potatoes and their version of the Caesar Salad. Everything was fresh, great quality and delicious. Thanks!

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                        mangefromage RE: Adam Fleischman Jul 12, 2006 10:22 PM

                        I went to tender greens last night for dinner. I had the ahi tuna hot plate, with the spinach salad and yukon mashed potatoes. I was initially a little disappointed that my plate only had for slices of ahi on it, but they proved succulent and lovely enough to withstand the large salad (in a Cabernet vinaigrette, no less) with hazelnuts and goat cheese and the creamy potatoes. Excellent combo plate, and I was especially pleased by the many hazelnuts throughout the salad. Could've used a bit more goat cheese to balance the acid of the vinaigrette, but then again, I'm a cheese fiend.

                        My friend ordered the steak sandwich and the same salad. She loved it. The bread on the sandwich was great--just toasty enough to hold it all together.

                        Only drawback. The ordering line, and extremely small space at the entrance where people are required to order and look at the large menu on the wall. Leads to general chaos, wherein line-cutters are able to advance while those of us who may already know what we want to order, but are still perusing the menu for future reference are left in melee. Made me rather mad, as I'd been patiently waiting my turn. But the watermelon agua fresca and patio seating made it all better. I'll go back, I'll just be more militant about my place in line.

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                          kevin RE: Adam Fleischman Jul 12, 2006 11:55 PM

                          what's it's hours?

                          the takeout menu doesn't seem to list the days nor the hours.

                          also, do they still carry the "cayenne cocao brownie" that sounds really good, it's always good to have some spice to cut down the sweetness.

                          1. liu RE: Adam Fleischman Jul 17, 2006 07:08 PM

                            We enjoyed dinner at Tender Greens in Culver City this past Saturday night. We arrived about 6:00 and we were able to order immediately; however, when we left about an hour later, the line was down the sidewalk -- maybe 15 or 20 people waiting to get to the counter to order.

                            I loved my chipotle chicken salad -- perfect for a warm summer evening. I tasted the flat iron steak salad; the steak was delicious, but I did not care for the dressing on this one.

                            I also ordered a watermelon juice -- just fresh, crushed watermelon with no added sugar -- served over ice. This was just perfect! I loved having this choice of something to drink other than the usual...this was just something a little different and very refreshing! I like a restaurant that tries to do something healthy and different!

                            As an aside: Ford's Filling Station -- right next door -- was bustling!

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                              tissue RE: Adam Fleischman Jul 17, 2006 08:40 PM

                              My office put in a large order for lunch last week. They messed it up and took 2 1/2 hours.

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                                peanut112 RE: Adam Fleischman Jul 17, 2006 08:46 PM

                                Tissue,
                                the time you had to wait is definitely not acceptable, nor were errors, but there's a couple of things to consider:
                                Restaurants that have been in existence for years often mess up large office orders at lunch and take too long, so it's not just a new location that commits such errors.
                                Also, because it is new, a large office order may really have put them in the weeds. I'm certainly not offering a justification, but rather an explanation.
                                I'd wait a month and give them another go.

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                                  tissue RE: Adam Fleischman Jul 17, 2006 08:55 PM

                                  We had a lunch order of 18, sandwiches, salads, and soup, no special requests. They made 2 of the salads into sandwiches and forgot a side of mashed potatoes.

                                  1. Amanda Enclade RE: Adam Fleischman Jul 23, 2006 12:24 AM

                                    we loved it here. tried the hinese chicken -wanted to order another one. it was delish. kids loved the mashed potatoes and grilled chicken. very very very yummy!!

                                    1. Muhlyssa RE: Adam Fleischman Jul 26, 2006 05:27 AM

                                      Whoever said they could eat here every day was right. Had dinner tonight there and it was outstanding. Fresh, clean flavors, outstanding freshness for the produce and excellent quality in the meats.

                                      My husband had a steak sandwich that was extremely tender and flavorful. I had a big salad, Chipotle Chicken Salad, that had the most amazingly moist and tasty chicken, avocado, mexican cheese of some kind, tortilla strips and a great lime dressing.

                                      It's not fast-food cheap but totally worth it, I can't say enough about the quality.

                                      1. tablefor1 RE: Adam Fleischman Mar 24, 2008 09:57 PM

                                        I have been passing this place on the way to (surprise!) Fraiche and (ho-hum) Ugo and (??) Ford's Filling Station and finally, finally decided to walk in. So, they save on table service by keeping all of the (mostly friendly, slightly harried) staff behind the counter but make up for it with industry tricks and really tender greens. I'm shocked at how low their prices are for what you get... they have a good blend of rustic bakery-style basic display and smart, elegant touches that are not missed under flavorful, fresh food. My flat iron hot plate with (slightly salty) yukon gold mashed potatoes and fantastic baby spinach salad (did they just pick the spinach? so sweet!) was the perfect size and perfect price. And, who else in town serves hibiscus iced tea? Why don't more places carry this refreshingly floral sensation?

                                        My main complaint has to do with the oil soaked piece of toast they laid atop my salad - why, oh why ruin bread with oil like that? They claim to make their own, but then to soak it in oil and toast it? It may as well be some god-awful La Brea commerically frozen and par-baked concoction at that point.

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