Sunday, November 9, 2008

Tender Greens (San Diego)

Nothing beats a big heaping salad for lunch. No matter how much cream based dressing, egg yolk, bacon you put on it.. it just seems healthy. On top of that, have them prepare the salad fresh right in front of you only adds to the appeal factor. And then ON TOP OF THAT fresh sliced grilled/roasted meats on a toasted ciabatta bun? YOU GOT ME HOOKED!

So what restaurant has suddenly become my favorite lunch spot? The recently opened Tender Greens in Liberty Station Point Loma. A new restaurant that just opened up recently that specializes in freshly tossed salads and carved meats. "Healthy/Local" is the motto!

A fresh, clean, open aired restaurant with nicely appointed thick wooden tables and high ceilings gives you a feeling of relaxation and sanctuary from the hustle bustle of your work/school day.

The menu consists of a handful of "simple" salads (just a type of lettuce mixed with a dressing and maybe one or two other veggies), carved meat (served in a sandwich or alone with mashed potatoes), and "big" salads (the big time toss in 10000000 ingredients and let it rip). For $5 you can have a large plate of the "simple" salad or for $10 add that salad in with a carved meat selection (albacore, flank steak, roasted chicken, pork). The big salads are $10. They have daily specials with a special type of meat and salad.

After ordering at the entrance, you follow a trail of vegetables and sauces as you watch the workers prepare whatever veggie delight you decided to order.

Like a construction line, they first toss together your different types of base lettuce in a large bowl and mix it with your dressing of choice.

Toss it onto the next worker who adds the secondary ingredients to make your perfect salad. For those grilled veggie lovers, they provide freshly grilled Temecula Vegetables. A delightful and enticing treat, so enticing in fact that I spent a good 3-5 minutes photographing the veggies.

Don't you just want to nibble on one of these root veggies like Bugs Bunny? The workers probably thought "what the weirdo? why is this kid taking 50 photos of the root veggies, he's insane!"

And finally you get to the meat portion. Another drool worthy section of the Tender Green conveyor belt. After drooling over everything you SHOULD have ordered and regretting everything you DID order, you get a drink and pay.

My drink of choice today? Fresh lemonade with Hibiscus tea.

A crisp acidic bite with a hint of sweet and sour from the lemonade. The Hibiscus itself has a strong floral bouquet that might be overwhelming for some.

My friend ordered the Red/Green Butter lettuce with Tarragon sauce, Herb Brushed local Halibut, and creamy mashed potatoes.

First off, these are some of the most creamy, velvety, and buttery mashed potatoes you'll ever find. I'm sure each spoonful has at least one stick of butter in it. This doesn't detract from the fact that there is such an overwhelming mouth feel of richness from eating it. A+.

The Albacore is seared to rare/medium rare and brushed lightly with olive oil and herbs. Tender and meaty the albacore is a thick enough fish in that it's able to stand alone without the need for sauce. I feel as though there is JUST the right amount of herb flavoring that it doesn't overcome the natural meatiness of the fish.

Finally, the special of the day.. Slow Roasted Beef sandwich served with Butter Leaf Lettuce, Cherry Tomatoes, and Tarragon Vinaigrette.

*drool* moist, thick pieces of shredded beef slowly marinated in a rich peppery brew. The beef is then put on a toasted ciabatta bread with garlic aoili and roasted red peppers. The bread has such a nice crisp to it , flaky but not crunchy and firm on the inside.

The salad is an incredibly crisp and fresh butter leaf lettuce served with a sprinkle of feta cheese, in hopes to not overwell the light tarragon dressing. Served also with plump juicy cherry tomatoes. I'd eat this salad with some flank steak on it ALL DAY.

What can I say? I love this place. I love the fact that you can get such a large variety of salads that are fresh and flavorful without compromising portion size. I love it! And.. the Vons next door is the most badass Vons of all time.

Tender Greens
2400 Historic Decatur Rd
San Diego, CA 92106



Mike said...

I've been meaning to check this place out, but haven't gotten there yet. Looks like it is definitely worth a visit.

Charlie Fu said...

Hey Mike,

It's great for the portions/price/freshness. I really like the sante fe chicken salad.

I think I want to go tomorrow!

Jeana said...

Pretty effective information, lots of thanks for the article.