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The Butcher's Daughter
So fresh and so clean: New York City ups its wellness factor
By Kat Odell
We’re obsessed with delicious, indulgent food, but we also like to leave a meal feeling good about the choices we made—and feeling good, period. Thanks to an influx of wellness-oriented cafes in the city, it’s easier than ever to get all the veg you’ve ever imagined, or to stay true to a gluten-free lifestyle. If you tend to shy away from greener things, now is the time to dive in, because these modern healthy hubs bring kitchen talent strong enough to make you forget all about pizza. Or burgers. Or heartburn. Here are nine of or favorite spots to refuel in Manhattan when you need a break from the greasy grind.
At Avant Garden, a charming vegan spot just off Tompkins Square Park, the sweet, creamy, and earthy carrot-harissa toast on Balthazar bread has the power to make guests forget about meat and dairy altogether. Kale panzanella salad with onion, olive, garlic, and croutons is a satisfying and smart take on the otherwise ubiquitous green. And miatake oysters, sprinkled with smoked macadamias and crispy leeks, are the star of the King Oyster (pictured below), which has so much depth it almost tastes, ahem, meaty.
A few years ago, Brazilians began adopting a new alternative to bread: gluten-, dairy-, and sugar-free tapioca crepes. The now-familiar crepes serve as a blank slate to which cafes can add a variety of ingredients—from cheese (traditional) to nutella and banana—and Manhattan has just recently landed its first ever tapioca-dedicated café in the form of OCA (get it, tapiOCA?). Business partners Elias Abifadel, Luca Bianchi, Rafael Guerra and Filipe Raposo have teamed up creating tiny, tropical-feeling Soho boxes which serve a cheffed up take on the Brazilian staple, filled with Serrano ham, dates, and buffalo mozzarella, or salmon, cashew cream, and avocado. OCA is still in its infancy, but you have acai bowls to look forward to in the near future, too.
Customizable Indian-flavored bowls are the name of the game at Inday, a wellness-centered, quick-serve café in NoMad best known for its cauliflower “not rice.” Order at the counter à la Chipotle via a menu of pre-designed constructions, or choose your own adventure starting with a base of either that “not rice,” basmati rice, or fermented quinoa. Add seasonal veggies or lentil curry, then top with proteins dressed with Indian flair—think turkey tikka or carnitas masala. For those in need of a caffeine boost, there’s coconut coffee, and medicinal chaga mushrooms mixed with activated charcoal and masala chai.
Husband and wife owners Anna Castellani and Richard Lamb, along with their partner Clifford Shikler, get the bulk of their eggs, herbs, and vegetables for Foragers Table from the 28-acre farm that they run in the Hudson Valley. And for the other ingredients, they forage. The restaurant is an offshoot of their market, and honors the beauty of its raw materials in simple, thoughtful dishes like deviled farm eggs, king crab salad with snow peas and American caviar, and a killer lamb Bolognese.
The Wild Son
Set amid a sea of clothing stores and nightlife haunts, casual breakfast-and-lunch newbie The Wild Son is a welcome reprieve, and one neighbors have quickly embraced. The warm turmeric butter smeared over gluten-free buckwheat buttermilk pancakes is not to be missed, however those feeling a more savory construction should opt for the cauliflower steak sandwich, which comes with a raw walnut spread and herbs. This veggie-forward effort comes from those behind neighborhood bars The Wayland and Good Night Sonny, so rest assured the botanical drinks here are on point; look no further than the sharply tangy mango and turmeric shrub.
The Wild Son
Mulberry & Vine
Grabbing something quick doesn't have to mean grabbing something greasy. At Mulberry & Vine's two locations in Tribeca and Nomad, Chef Justin Schwartz cooks up vegetarian, vegan, dairy-free, and gluten-free dishes. The super flavorful Southwest quinoa, with corn, avocado, chipotle, and cumin seeds, makes other quinoa bow and go home, and the signature M&V roasted chicken is perfectly juicy. Make sure not to miss the charred avocado with pumpkin seed-yogurt puree. You can also pick up house made, super infused waters with flavors including charcoal-cayenne, cilantro-cucumber and lemongrass-coconut.
Nourish Kitchen + Table
With its exposed brick and gold embellishments, Nourish Kitchen is a pretty place to find your fix, whether that means a seasonal kale salad or a cherry-almond quinoa date bar. Smartly situated next door to Equinox, this is nutritionist Marissa Lippert’s chic ode to seasonal and local eats, from lean proteins like Harissa-roasted Amish chicken to cod with a grape reduction. The idea here is high-quality, unfussy food you can eat every day, but made with better, more consciously sourced ingredients than what you’d find at typical American cafes. While the West Village haunt might not be walking distance for all, there’s always Caviar.
Nourish Kitchen + Table
The Butcher’s Daughter
The Butcher’s Daughter gives to fruits and veggies the kind of TLC that butchers give to meat—slicing, chopping, carving, and then juicing, cooking, and combining them to perfection. Their 100 percent vegetarian and dairy-free menu can be found in three bright, cheerful locations in Nolita, Noho, and the West Village. Warning: The Brass Monkey smoothie, with peanut butter and banana, is highly addictive.
Chef John Fraser works his magic at Nix, a sexy Greenwich Village veggie-centric restaurant that gets its name from the 1893 Supreme Court decision, Nix v. Hedden, which ruled that tomatoes were a vegetable and thus subject to a veg-specific import tax. Dishes like shiitake mushrooms over polenta and charred asparagus with a generous pile of morels are inspired, elegant, and tasty.