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Jul 18, 2012 11:26 AM

Tender Greens at UTC

Tender Greens opened this Saturday in the UTC mall. I have been there twice so far. The food is just as good as the food Point Loma location, which is to say, quite good, with what appear to be high-quality ingredients. Between us, my companion and I have had yellowtail on corn risotto with grilled vegetables, kale and salami salad, corn soup with caesar salad, and a salade nicoise with grilled (rare) tuna. We also had a pot of coffee and some shortbready dessert.

The yellowtail dish in particular was excellent. Caesar salad, alas, had too much dressing, but was otherwise very good. The lettuce was super-fresh and flavorful.

Portion sizes are quite large. It would be nice if they would offer an alternative of smaller portions, particularly of soups.

I was surprised to learn that they are a multicity chain of about eight restaurants, with locations in L.A. also.

Delighted to see improvement in the mostly dismal UTC food scene.

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  1. Oh wow didn't expect it to be open already. Yes yes yes! Finally a bright spot on the blight that is affordable UTC dining.

    1. You might try their Simple Salad option. There is the choice of 5 salads - such as red/green butter lettuce, arugula, caesar - and the portion is smaller than for one of the regular salads. You can add any of the usual protein choices. The Simple Salad is $6, and the protein add ons are $4, the price of the salad comes out the same as a regular salad. I do this frequently and find that the portion is just about right. I get a nice portion of salad without being overwhelming. I'm partial to the red & green butter lettuce with steak. And it comes with a nice piece of grilled bread.

      If you haven't tried the Happy Vegan yet, give it a go. Very good and surprisingly satisfying

      3 Replies
      1. re: DiningDiva

        Thank you for the suggestion on how to order! I will try your advice...

        1. re: DiningDiva

          I visited yesterday with my parents and had the simple salad with seared tuna. The ingredient quality is top notch, both the chicken from my mom's dish and my own tuna were on par with what I would expect at a much more expensive place.

          My father got the Happy Vegan, which he also really enjoyed.

          The simple salad with a protein add on is a fair amount of food, but wouldn't satisfy me if I had much of an appetite. I also wish there were an option to make a few more additions to the simple options (as it stands its just an uncut bed of lettuces)

          Service is very friendly for fast casual, but the constant roaming by the table bussers is a bit a much. They swooped in several times to take plates before the entire party was finished, and interrupted enough to be annoying.

          Still, I much prefer that to a neglectful staff, and I would definitely go back to try more of the menu.

          1. re: Rodzilla

            I think with the Simple Salad + protein they're hoping you'll add on a soup and/or dessert. And I agree about the table bussers, they are pretty omnipresent. They're not as bad in Point Loma, probably because that location has been open a lot longer and they've got their routine figure out better.

            Glad your dad liked the Happy Vegan. I'd really like the recipe for the farro salad on it. Not so much the ingredients, that's pretty easy to figure out, but for the dressing on it, I think that's the key to that dish.

        2. Wow I walked by last week and it didn't look like it was close to opening. Finally, somewhere decent to eat in UTC!

          1. Glad to hear this location has opened. I have eaten at Hollywood and Pasadena locations and they were both (nearly) as good as Point Loma..

            1. So does this concept remind you of any other place you have dined recently? Is it fair to say this is an upscale, plated version of a cafeteria style salad bar a la Souplantation?

              3 Replies
              1. re: volvo99

                The concept is close to the one from Urban Plates which was a nice lunch options recently in Del Mar.

                1. re: volvo99

                  The concept has been around for years (think Jack's or Plutos in NorCal), the execution is gussied up and gentrified.

                  1. re: DiningDiva

                    Went today in the pm. Still some serving kinks...plenty of people behind the counter but very slow and insecure with quite a wait and it wasn't busy. I liked the Thai shrimp salad but too much dressing on all of our entrees. The summer gazpacho had way too much acid and not enough chunky veg...Bread Cie has a much lovelier version.

                    So I like having them in the UTC area but they've got to get more efficient and ease up on the dressing. I think this is the early phase though. I'm sure they will be as good as Liberty Station soon.