With its emphasis on local and sustainable ingredients, friendly service and healthy plates, Tender Greens’ newly-opened location in Downtown Burbank seems to get it all correct, right out of the gate.
Lunchtime can be especially busy anywhere in Burbank and a recent weekday in Downtown Burbank was no exception. While the Tender Greens order line stretched to the sidewalk entrance, it did move rather quickly. After a 15 minute wait, we had ordered. We were sitting at our table and eating lunch, just five minutes later.
Our wait was made a little easier with the wandering host, who approached everyone in line and answered questions about how the restaurant services and menu options work. Plenty of seating was available in the nearly 2400 square foot dining area and tables were checked and kept clean by several roaming employees.
With options ranging from tender marinated steak, to chicken grilled, barbecued or fried, to wild-caught Pacific Albacore tuna and roasted and grilled hearty vegetables like corn and zucchini, there are plenty of main dishes to choose from for the omnivore to the vegan. Daily specials from entrees to sides and soups are also available.
The Happy Vegan salad looked amazing, with farro wheat, quinoa, hummus, tabbouleh, lettuces, cranberry, hazlenuts, cucumber and tomato.
The Falafel salad was stupendous. The fried falafel balls were green and fragrant inside and very filling. Complemented by a fresh and cool yogurt dressing, lightly toasted pita and gem lettuces along with cucumber and tomato, this dish was not just healthy but delicious.
The Chipotle BBQ Chicken salad was also fantastic. Pieces of flavorful, tender chicken, fresh romaine lettuces, avocado, queso fresco, tortilla strips and onion were mixed with a light cliantro-lime dressing, making each bite a surprise and delight.
I rarely order a salad without finding a least some wilted or turned lettuce in the batch. Every leaf on our plates at Tender Greens was crisp and fresh. I also really enjoyed the addition of a favorite cheese like queso fresco to the dish.
For those who just want something more American-traditional, Tender Greens has steak, crispy fried chicken and mashed potatoes. The Backyard Marinated Steak sandwich, served on light ciabatta bread spread with aioli and roasted red peppers, was juicy and extremely tender. The side of mashed potatoes was an explosion of buttery goodness down to the last mouthful.
While the price point is a bit pricey, at $11.50 per regular plate or salad, the amount of food served is plenty for one person. Smaller salads, soups and desserts are also available along with teas, agua frescas, sodas, coffee, water, beer and wine.
Although we couldn’t possibly eat another bite after this first meal at Tender Greens, we were sorely tempted by the colorful dessert case.
Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes, Vegan Blackberry Agave Cupcakes, Blueberry muffins, a multi-layer chocolate cake with white frosting, gluten-free peanut butter cookie sandwich filled with grape jelly, blueberry homemade Pop tarts and more sweets awaited. We plan to return just for a sweet snack sometime soon.
A meal for three, with simply tap water to drink, cost about $37 including tax. Tender Greens is not a cheap dining-out option, but for the quality of the food, the menu prices seem reasonable.
The steak and chicken, according to the menu, while not certified organic, are raised hormone- and antibiotic-free. The vegetables and lettuces are from nearby farms in Ventura County and from throughout California, and are organic when possible.
We were in and out of the restaurant in under an hour. The place was clean, cheerful and enjoyable, with a few large community tables and many tables for two to four people.
Tender Greens gets a Tops In Town for serving up vibrant, flavorful meals that are also healthy. The restaurants’ nod to the farm-to-table movement is an admirable tack. Tender Greens is a terrific addition to Downtown Burbank and we expect to become regulars.
Restaurant Info: Tender Greens Burbank is located at 325 N. San Fernando Road, Burbank, CA 91501. 818-333-8340. Open Sunday through Thursday 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Tender Greens receives: Tops In Town
Tops In Town (Outstanding)
On The Marquee (Really Good)
Could Use A Rewrite (Average or Slightly Below)
Don’t Quit Your Day Job (Roadkill)