Friday, May 13, 2011
I was recently invited to a meal at Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop in Century City on the occasion of the launch of their new beer and wine program. Previously, their Beverly Hills location had an alcohol license while the Century City location was dry. Now Century City workers can join their 90210 brethren in enjoying a glass of beer or wine while they eat their midday repasts.
The food at Greenleaf is all organic and uses no hormones and all the dressings are house-made. The goal is to provide substance without the guilt. Chef/owner Jonathan Rollo and Chef Kristi Ritchey are both focused on living healthy lifestyles and serving the kind of food they want to eat to their customers. Chef Ritchey lost over 100 pounds by exercising and eating healthier and she is excited to be able to serve food that tastes good without being calorie laden.
I had the opportunity to try several of their specialty salads as well as some of the veggie sides. Lemongrass Chicken ($10) includes mixed baby greens, grilled chicken breast, mango, grilled pineapple, jicama, toasted coconut, agave-roasted cashews, Thai chili and basil, tossed with a lemongrass lychee vinaigrette dressing.
The unfortunately names Mexplosion is much better than its moniker would lead you to expect. This salad is a take on a veggie taco salad and includes baby greens, grilled corn and black bean salsa with cilantro, tomatoes, shaved red onion, avocado, sunflower seeds, whole wheat tortilla crunchies (how can you resist a dish with an ingredient referred to as crunchies?), and jalapeño jack cheese, served on a low-carb high protein whole wheat tortilla and tossed with a citrus basil vinaigrette and a spicy chipotle orange barbeque sauce. The tortillas are made by La Reina and the whole dish only has about 600 calories. I had not tried a whole wheat tortilla before and it was pretty good. It didn’t feel like I was eating a healthy dish, just a dish that happened to be good for me.
The Zorba the Great salad is a take on a traditional Greek salad and is named after Chef Rollo’s dog Zorba. It comes on a bed of humus and house-made pita chips are sprinkled on top. The dressing is a garlic herb vinaigrette that Rollo described as “a combination of aromatic herbs and roasted sweetness.”
The heartiest of the side salads I sampled was the Grilled Vegetable Pasta Salad ($3), which is a very substantial dish packed with flavor. The Tuscan Kale salad ($4) is served with lemon juice and olive oil and was less interesting to me, though likely especially good for you. The Warm Lentil salad ($4) was also a favorite of mine.
Overall the food was good and it is a bonus that it is healthy and low calorie. The restaurant delivers meals at lunchtime within Century City via bicycle, which is another “green” touch to their business.
Now they have a dozen white wines by the glass, three red wines by the glass and three beers on tap. The "liquid enhancements" cost between $3 and $12 per glass.
Greenleaf Century City serves breakfast and lunch Monday - Friday 8 am - 4 pm. They offer 20 minutes free parking (best for to-go orders) or $5 for 90 minutes or parking. I recommend phoning in your order ahead of time if you plan to get take-out; it will be much faster.
Greenleaf Gourmet Chop Chop: 1888 Century Park East, Century City. Phone: (424) 239-8700. Website: http://www.greenleafchopshop.com/