Flatiron Lunch: Tanoreen and Salads at FoodParc
Every Friday our man UltraClay goes south of the ML boundaries in search of a delicious lunch. Sometimes it’s Murray Hill south or the Flatiron District, sometimes Gramercy and everything in between- but we just like to call it Flatiron Lunch. This week Brian H. is stepping in for Clay…
You don’t often see the contributors on ML reviewing salads. Zach has expressed an aversion to leafy greens over the years and the rest of us also tend to like our food fried, buttery, and meaty – in other words, with lots of flavor. Another reason we don’t cover healthy food very often is because it’s so darn expensive. It’s a lot cheaper (and more fun) to rack up the calories than to design your own salad.
And the truth is I probably would not have gone out of my way to check out Quality Greens, the new salad bar concept at FoodParc, if it wasn’t for the promise of a taste of Tanoreen. The Middle Eastern restaurant in Bay Ridge is one of my favorites in the entire city and since an hour-long ride on the R train is not how I like to spend my weekends, I’ve only been there a handful of times. So when I read that Tanoreen was coming to Midtown, I could barely contain my excitement. Why do you think I hijacked this column from ultraclay this week?
The irony is I didn’t get to experience much Tanoreen here. I got stuck with a big salad instead. The only offerings from Tanoreen are a handful of cold appetizers and dips, like hummus and tabouleh. You can get them in a small ($2.25-$3.50) or a large size ($4.25-$6.75). And they also sell a meze platter of three choices for $8.75, which is nice for an appetizer sampler, but is not realistic for lunch. And while the cold appetizers are pretty incredible from Tanoreen, I was disappointed they didn’t include their awesome lamb or cauliflower appetizer.
So in an attempt to not leave hungry and spend all my lunch money for the week, I decided to get just a small container of the eggplant salad and also try one of the speciality salads from Quality Greens. I could have designed my own and added any number of exotic ingredients (like goji berries and black and white croutons), but I’ve learned from other salad bar experiences that in order to get all the things I want, I have to spend an arm and a leg. So I kept it simple and chose their Water Mill Salad, which featured grilled chicken, avocado, cherry tomatoes, and goat cheese over mixed greens. The grilled shrimp, yellowfin tuna, and marinated skirt steak protein options all sounded more appealing, but I was already pushing $10.
Surprisingly, the salad was pretty good. The crisp cut mixed greens (which are advertised as organic from Satur Farms) were fresh and lively and I really enjoyed the apple cider and whole grain mustard dressing. It added a sweet zing to the proceedings that balanced the creamy, funk of the goat cheese. The moist, tender grilled chicken (also organic) had been seasoned with some delicious fresh herbs that gave the salad more complexity than you would find at any of the other salad bar concept restaurants. My only complaint is that the avocado was slightly under ripe and not sliced up – it was just left as a big chunk on one side of the salad.
Onto the eggplant salad from Tanoreen – the reason I was here in the first place. It was delicious, but way too small. The fried eggplant was mixed with plenty of olive oil, lemon, tomatoes, and a generous amount of garlic. It was so good – meaty and tangy – but acted as a tease. It made me want an entire meal from Tanoreen. But until they open up a location in Manhattan, I’ll settle for a taste here and there.
And I doubt the salads at Quality Greens will convert anybody, but they were fresh and tasty. And amazingly, I didn’t leave hungry. Sure, I spent just over $13 and had a salad for lunch (!), but I saved myself a trip out to Bay Ridge (and maybe a few calories).
FoodParc now also hosts The Juice Press, which serves organic juices and raw food (what’s with all this health-consciousness?) and DogParc, an offering of Pat LaFrieda’s speciality sausages (that’s more like it).
Quality Greens, Inside FoodParc, 851 6th Ave. (on 30th btw. 6+7th) 866-996-8396