There are times when you know deep down in your soul that the only thing to do is to eat a huge pile of the freshest organic greens you can find, preferably tossed in a simple dressing and served with a delectable and substantial ingredient to satisfy your bodily needs. David Dressler, Matt Lyman and Erik Oberholtzer joined forces to answer this calling at their vitamin-rich restaurant, Tender Greens, located in Culver City, California.
It’s true, they have other great stuff on the menu, such as the line caught ahi tuna hot from the mequite grill, and the Angus flatiron steak with mashed yukon gold potatoes. There’s also a fine roasted roma tomato bread soup with micro basil, and a richly lemony chicken soup.
But the heart of this restaurant is its salad menu. Inspired by Matt’s childhood on a Maryland farm and Erik’s ongoing passion for home-grown produce, the three friends have developed a deep and wide salad menu that relies on produce picked daily at family-run Scarborough Farms in Oxnard, a short hop skip and jump from the restaurant. While not certified as organic, the family run a small-scale European-style farm using the lowest amount of chemical inputs possible to nurture their lettuces, arugula, microgreens, edible flowers, herbs and baby salad vegetables on realistic restaurant scales. The additional ingredients are consciously sourced, with organic oils and vinegars, free-range poultry, hormone-free beef and line-caught fish.
Simple salads include the baby spinach, goat cheese and hazelnut with cabernet vinaigrette, and the red and green butter lettuce with dijon vinaigrette.
The big salads are far more substantial, providing full lunch or dinner satisfaction. Check out the Chinese chicken salad with spicy greens, golden pea sprouts, carrot, crispy wonton, roasted peanuts and sesame dressing. Also the grilled veggies with crunchy lettuces, shaved parmesan and roasted tomato vinaigrette. And finally the ahi tuna nicoise (pictured above) with tender greens, tomatoes, potatoes, capers, olives and sherry vinegar.
Watch out as the Tender Greens tendrils reach out to other California neighborhoods. Two new restaurants are currently planned, one in West Hollywood and another in San Diego. Keep your fingers crossed if you’re further afield…
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