Tuesday mornings don't usually bring much glee, but this morning was different.
I caught a glimpse of a flyer indicating that CLEMENTINE had stepped into the void left by Joan's On Third's hasty retreat from the Hammer Museum courtyard in Westwood.
CLEMENTINE'S Ensley Ave. HQ would be my favorite lunch spot in the area were it not for their parking, crowds and longer than ideal wait to get food on a workday. I have just returned from lunch at the Hammer courtyard and I'm pleased to be the first to report here that CLEMENTINE is a great addition to the Westwood lunch scene.
The staff are friendly and helpful. The setting is great (nice shady courtyard and plenty of chairs/tables). And the food is very good. Note that there is not, as they say in the industry, a "full kitchen" at this time.
Instead, there's a fridge case loaded with selections from the CLEMENTINE menu, pre-made, pre-packaged and clearly labeled. This bummed me out at first, because I am not a pre-made sandwich kind of 'hound (are any of you?).
I've always thought that the food prep staff at CLEMENTINE were good because they seem to make sandwiches with as much care as they might if they were going to eat the sandwich themselves. The same people and attitude seem to be behind the stuff in the case at the Hammer. Based on freshness, I would guess that they start making the sandwiches at about 1030AM on Ensley, finish by 1130AM and RACE over to the Hammer to deliver rather fresh, unwilted, tasty treats just in time for the lunch crowd. I didn't have a salad, but I'd guess it's the same deal.
So, to recap. If you work in Westwood, you can get CLEMENTINE for lunch at the Hammer courtyard. Sandwiches are $8.25. They have cookies/brownies/scones/etc. They're closed on Monday.
There was a line today, so it's no secret that they're there. Expect crowds. If I had one gripe, it would be that the order/pay set-up is not very fast (ordering is MUCH faster than paying, so you might stand in line with a tray for 10 minutes waiting to pay if you were the 5th person in line (which you will be once this place catches on). Maybe they'll add another register.