Mayonaki

 

Lilia

8 sexy NYC restaurants with thoughtfully-sourced ingredients

By Kat Odell

As more restaurants consider eco-friendly practices, cutting down on animal products and thoughtfully sourcing ingredients from near, not far, it’s no longer a challenge to find good-for-you eats on a major holiday typically linked to indulgence and excess. Below, some of New York’s best bets for sleek spaces serving wholesome plates on Valentine’s Day.

ABCV
Decorated French chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten infuses vegetables with worldwide flavor at the chic and bohemian-dressed, plant-based spinoff of his ABC-brand of restaurants. Think local and seasonal fruits and veg sourced from the nearby Union Square Greenmarket, folded into mushroom-walnut Bolognese ($21), and enriching beluga lentils studded with yams and broccoli stems ($15).
Neighborhood: Flatiron MAP

Duck Breast at Hemlock

Hemlock
Hemlock quietly slipped onto the Lower East Side last spring, but word’s getting out about Casa Mono alum Diego Moya’s inspired, farm-focused, veg-forward plates. Snag a counter seat within the bright, earthy dining room and enjoy locally sourced New York fish, like skate wing with kohlrabi and horseradish ($26), plus produce from nearby farms infused into banana leaf–roasted leeks, and kale with macadamia and lavender. On the side, natural wine, of course. Fun fact: In effort to reduce waste, Moya recycles veggie scraps into various ferments and vinegars. For example, their duck breast, (pictured above), includes Spigarello stems that were fermented and pickled from the previous season, and then used to make mustard as well as garnish.
Neighborhood: Lower East Side MAP

Don Angie (photo: Scott Heins)

Don Angie
Right now all the cool kids are digging into Scott Tacinelli and Angie Rito’s cheese-stuffed garlic flatbread ($11), and the house special lasagna for two ($64). This hip and buzzy, newly minted West Village nook celebrates fresh ingredients and a mostly Italian menu, with close attention paid to responsible sourcing.
Neighborhood: West Village MAP

Mayanoki
Grab a counter seat at this petite Alphabet city boîte for New York’s only sustainable omakase. What started as a pop-up about five years back officially landed a permanent home last summer, and since then chef Jeff Miller–formerly of Uchi in Houston–has been slicing a $95 15-piece chef’s choice menu of responsibly sourced, mostly American fish, paired beside New York wines. Think Santa Barbara yellowtail, and mackerel via Boston swiped with fresh wasabi grown in Oregon.
Neighborhood: Alphabet City MAP

Olmsted (photo: Evan Sung)

Olmsted
With an idyllic rear garden patio that grows an abundance of fresh herbs during warmer months, chef Greg Baxtrom’s white-hot Olmsted continues to impress with its seasonal, ingredient-focused plates. What began as more of a New American menu now reads highly Asian; expect to find red miso chawanmushi ($14) and kale crab Rangoon ($15). Pro tip: The best seats in the house are at the counter overlooking the kitchen, so make sure to request those in advance.
Neighborhood: Prospect Heights MAP

Henry
In what was the original headquarters for LIFE magazine is now Life Hotel, and within it, the property’s signature restaurant, Henry. Chef Michael Vignola heads up the buzzy bistro’s farmers market–leaning menu, studded with hearty plates of burrata and kabocha squash ($13), and Rhode Island squid with shrimp-studded cavatelli ($20). Post dinner, head downstairs to the subterranean Gibson & Luce for a boozy and seasonally appropriate adult take on spiced apple cider ($15).
Neighborhood: Nomad MAP

Jicama ribbons with blood orange at Nix (photo: Pete Teoh)

Nix
With its comfortably sexy space and smart vegetable execution, chef John Fraser’s Michelin-starred vegetarian restaurant, Nix, has been a hit since day one. Here, you’ll find a serious study of seasonal produce laced through his New American menu, like jicama ribbons with chile and blood orange ($14), and a playful spin on cacio e pepe, made with shiitake mushrooms, and green beans served over polenta ($25).
Neighborhood: Greenwich Village MAP

Lilia
Just two years young, chef Missy Robbins’ Lilia has quickly become one of New York’s most beloved restaurants. Known for rustic, wood-fired Italian plates made from tip-top seasonal ingredients, as well as excellent house-made pastas, the dimly lit eatery wins as a choice for date night, or just friends grabbing an Italian-accented libation. Though plates change regularly with ingredient availability, reach for Robbins’ malfadini dusted with crushed pink peppercorns and Parmesan ($19), and her grilled lamb leg with fennel and celery ($29).
Neighborhood: Williamsburg MAP

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