Throughout August, Andrew Mark Veety is drawing inspiration from our 2012 FEAST 50 lineup for his lunch picks. Today’s column expands upon the growing vegetarian/vegan/raw scene that our readers wrote in about with a look at the Central West End's Green Bean.
It has been some time since I made my way out onto 23rd street in New York City around noon, hustling up the block to a small shop serving up hearty lunchtime salads that were tossed quickly and packaged up to be eaten on the wooden benches across the street in Madison Square Park. Although I’ve found great lunch spots known for their salads in my time in St. Louis, I never quite found a place that captured the spirit - and more importantly - the menu of my former lunch haunt in New York - until I ventured into Green Bean.
Fast-casual is the theme at this Central West End eatery, where diners begin their order at one end counter, making choices among scores of fresh ingredients before paying at the other end. The combinations of options seem endless for folks looking to roll their own salads, however, the short list of house specialties are worth checking out as well. The “turducken” is overflowing with flavors: Thanksgiving and the Mediterranean cross paths over crisp greens and peppery arugula, apricot and a confit of duck that bring to mind roasted, dark-meat turkey. Even better is the restrained Seoul Train: romaine, scallion and grilled beef in a red pepper dressing that has a bit of a kick, albeit it a kick that is quickly subdued by sections of cool cucumbers distributed amongst the greens.
A steady stream of foot traffic from the surrounding offices and hospitals keeps Green Bean hopping as a lunch option that is fast, healthy and convenient for the Central West End lunchtime crowd. The rest of St. Louis should be, well, green with envy.
Green Bean, 232 N. Euclid Ave., Central West End, 314.361.4444, greenbeansalads.com
Tired of reheating last night's dinner for lunch? Every Monday, food writer Andrew Mark Veety guides you to some of the best midday meals in the St. Louis region, with great places to bring clients or enjoy an outing with your co-workers. Missed one of his columns? Check them out here.