Tender Greens in Culver City
There's a ton of new restaurants in downtown Culver City area. The first time I stumbled upon this eatery was on 4th of July, one of the few places that was open around the area. It was a great first impression, and this time around I wanted to give it a proper review.
Tender Greens has great atmosphere - pleasant green hued walls, sturdy modern furniture, little tables. However, don't bring a group bigger than 4 here, or else you're going to be hijacking tables to squeeze together in the small space. There's more room outside to sit.
Ordering is cafeteria style. You walk up to the spitshield glass style counter, and one of the hardworking salad tossers asks you what you would like. The menu is very straightforward, with flatrates for big salads, or combos of sandwich/small salad. ($9). The choices of meat are flatiron steak, free range chicken, ahi tuna, and veggie smorgasboard. After placing your order, you watch and wait. (I kind of feel guilty about this part, as you wait for your food, eyeing the employee assemble your food...very voyeristic)
The huge flaw about this place is paying for your meal. No, I don't mean, they should give me free food. I mean, when attempting to pay for the meal, the eating establishment's method of taking my money is inconvenient to me. At Tender Greens, the cashier does triple duty - they have to pour out any kind of soups a customer orders, has to prepare/fetch the drinks (we got Arnold Palmers, my favorite kind of drink) and collect money. This is the place where everyone is blocked up, as there are only 2 cash registers and a long line of people waiting to pay. The assembly line of TG workers are efficient, and the food is prepared very quickly. But we all have to wait to pay. A bit frustrating, but I know they're new and still probably learning the ins and outs of their business.
Now to the meal!
I ordered an Ahi Tuna Sandwich with Caesar Salad. Owen got a flatiron steak sandwich, also with caesar salad. So we each switched halves and got a taste of both. The salad is pretty standard, I can't say it was the best thing I've ever had but everything was fresh. There were little shards of parmesan cheese that infused with the dressing, which I enjoyed. I wasn't the hugest fan of the big crouton, it was good but having to chop up the piece myself with a butterknife is cumbersome. The sandwiches were very simple - good bread which had a great springiness to it (which is difficult to get in a foccacia style bun), bit of mayo, roasted cold red bell peppers and the meat. The bell peppers aren't something I'm used to in a sandwich. Sometimes, I think they have the consistency of slimy deviened earthworms that have been soaked in red food coloring. But...that's a personal paranoia and isn't Tender Greens' fault.
Close up, you can see the simplicity of the sandwich. I have to say the steak was superior to the tuna, because the tuna had little flavoring and was just...ehh. Not bad but not great. I have to get used to the taste of ahi tuna and bread - raw-ish tuna tastes best with rice I think. The steak slices were perfectly cooked the way I like 'em - medium, a little chewy, good flavoring.
Tender Greens is a decent place to go and have a quick style lunch when it's nice out. Nothing wrong with that.