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By Steven Li on 2005-10-22

October 22, 2005

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Friday night dinner at Green Street Restaurant in Pasadena. Two friends and I had been waiting for a long time to try their “famous” Dianne Salad and Zucchini Bread (my weakness!)

My picture of the zucchini bread at the restaurant came out so bad (I am truly awful at taking pictures!) that I am ashamed to put it on the blog. Luckily I took home a couple extra pieces and here they are! Yummy! It was good, but not great zucchini bread. Though the flavor of the bread was excellent – flavorful without being too sweet and plenty of walnuts, it was rather dry (they even served it with butter on the side). I feel the kitchen could have took the extra minute or so to heat up the bread. Maybe it’s just me, but I like my spice breads warm or cold, not mellowing somewhere between…
Here is the Dianne Salad (I promise I will improve my picture taking skills. Promise!), one of Green Street’s signature dishes. This is the half portion ($9.50 w/ 2 slices of zucchini bread) and it is huge. Their normal sized portion ($10.95) puts Cheesecake Factory salads to shame. The salad was most delicious. Shredded lettuce tossed with thin slices with tender white chicken, a good dose of sesame seeds, cold meifun noodles, and chopped toasted almonds. Their “famous” Dianne dressing was just right, if not a bit on too oily. I suppose it is best descibed as a balsamic vinagrette meets nutty sesame dressing. Unlike most restaurants, the dressing was used sparingly – no heavy over dressed salads here! A friend had the Grilled Chicken with Sundried Tomatoes and Mushroom Pasta ($14.95). I only had a bite but am very happy to report that the flavor of the tomatoes and mushrooms were heavenly. The pasta was satisfying but nothing special and the same goes for the chicken, but the medly of tomatoes (I believe the mixed in a good amount of fresh ones as well as sundried tomatoes) with the sauteed mushrooms gave the dish a nice oomph. This was everyone’s favorite entree of the night (featured as a special on the menu). Basil-Lemon Pesto Fusilli ($14.95). This is definitely something to have if you’re a basil fan! The pasta was served piping hot, al dente, with just enough of pesto to satisfy but keep you wanting more. The dish was topped with a generous helping of sauteed basil and garlic. I don’t think the lemon flavor came from the pesto itself but that the pasta was tossed with lemon juice before mixing in the pesto. Like our other dishes, this was very light and even refreshing. What I like about Green Street is their focus on clean, fresh dishes comprised of simple but high quality ingredients. After one too many greasy meals from the dining hall this was a necessary and much appreciated relief! It was no one’s birthday but out waiter felt bad about bringing one of our dishes late so he brought out a delightful dessert at the end. We sang happy birthday to no one in particular and gladly dug into two scoops of Dr. Bob’s Tahitian Vanilla and Scharffen Bergen Really Dark Chocolate. What a delight!

The place was beginning to fill up as we left. This is clearly a neighborhood restaurant with many old timers who the waiters and chefs greeted by name. The food is good, the price is fair and the service, though sometimes forgetful, is genuinely sweet. The atmosphere is warm and inviting, many patrons opted to sit on the patio whereas some individuals sat at the bar. Families with kids and senior citizen couples dined side by side and shared conversation, “Oh that looks fantastic, how is it? Wonderful, wonderful!” When I come back again (which I will) I will ask for the zucchini bread to be toasted (hopefully my dry slice was just came from an over baked loaf), and then everything will be just wonderful, wonderful!

Green Street Restaurant 146 South Shopper’s Lane Pasadena, CA 91101 (626) 782-5020 www.greenstreetrestaurant.com



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