Being big fans of the dinner salad (one of my specialties is a skirt steak salad), the Lippman clan naturally had to check out the casual order/pay/seat yourself Tender Greens at the Marina Marketplace in Marina Del Rey for a recent weeknight dinner out. And when all was said and done, we found an instant family favorite.
Just a hop, skip and jump from home (translation: 5-minute car ride), Tender Greens is our kind of place: instant ordering a healthy dinner at your chosen table a few minutes later without that fast-food feel (almost like the Chipotle of salad restaurants!). Irene and Miss A split a delicious “Big Salad” called (coincidentally) the Chipotle Barbecue Chicken with romaine hearts, avocado, queso fresco, crispy tortilla strips, green onion and a cilantro lime dressing.
My tasty salad of butter lettuce, radishes, golden beets and chives was topped with “backyard”/skirt steak slices and a horseradish dressing. “Big Salads” are $11 while a “Simple Salad” is $6 (eg. romaine, baby spinach, kale). There are also comfort soups for $4 including a roasted roma tomato soup that I’m sure tomato girl Miss A will try on our next visit.
The boys shared a fried chicken sandwich with buttermilk, rosemary and thyme ($11) that was such a savory original recipe, they kept professing their love of their entree several times throughout the meal (they chose kale with parmesan and a roasted garlic vinaigrette for their side salad that came with).
Though we spotted some kiddies at Ivy at the Shore, Irene and I booked this wicker & tropical-inspired restaurant sans little ones. While Irene had been to the original celebrity-laden outpost in West Hollywood some years ago, this was our first time to the location on Ocean Avenue, which is much closer to our house and offers a great view of the Santa Monica Pier instead of an ample celebrity clientele.
Over a Bombay Sapphire martini (me) and The Ivy Gimlet (Svedka vodka, fresh lime and home grown mint ($13.75), Irene and I shared a soft shell crab appetizer ($19) that came with two kinds of dipping sauces. For our main courses, Irene had Fresh Wild Santa Barbara White Sea Bass — oven roasted with lemons, capers and white wine ($35); I chose a special of the day – a blackened New Zealand swordfish ($34). Kudos to our server who had the kitchen whip up an impromptu creamed spinach for to help with my side dish indecisiveness.
For dessert, we shared “Ricky’s Triple-Layer Chocolate Cake a la mode” ($10 and exactly what it sounds like). Overall, the food was perfectly satisfactory — not bad but not outstanding either. What really capped the night was an after-dinner stroll up Ocean Avenue, where we happened upon an art gallery and enjoyed a final glass of wine.