Valentine’s Day Dinners for Carnivores

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New York may disappoint us from time to time—what with fare hikes, slushy streets and the occasional unkempt sidewalk—but when the 14th of February rolls around, it knows just how to impress us with its old charm. Restaurants are particularly looking to indulge our appetites this time around, recession be damned. And with all their fancy twists, these spots have still managed to keep our health in mind while satisfying our hard-to-please carnivorous ways—think roasted pheasant with freekah risotto and beets (at Savoy), grass-fed bison carpaccio (at Emporio) and sticky toffee date cake (at Almond). It’s enough to give we here at Clean Plates just the tingle on our heart strings we were hoping for.

SD26 (Flatiron)

Three courses, $90 (Wine pairings, $75); (212) 265-5959; sd26ny.com

Courses here come in pairs. Choose from oysters with a Champagne vinaigrette or mussels with cannellini beans in a parsley broth to start. For the second course, it’s a pleasing choice between a plate of garganelli with chives or ravioli with sea urchin. The last course features a roast baby lamb with rosemary, and dessert, a passion-fruit soufflé for two.

Savoy (Soho)

Four course, $95; (212) 219-8570; savoynyc.com

This menu is still in the works but we do know there will be lots to love here. To start, choose from a plate of Lively Run Goat’s Milk feta (native to New York) with roasted radicchio, blood orange and honey; a spaghetti squash carbonara with house-cured pancetta, sage and a slow-poached egg; cauliflower custard or a charred octopus with shaved fennel and kalamata olives. The second course features a duck breast with cornbread and wild rice or a roasted pheasant with beet, freekeh risotto and a smokey broth. Finish with a malted milk chocolate crème brûlée or a coffee-and-cream terrine.

Emporio (Soho)

Two courses, $50; (212) 966-1234; auroraristorante.com

For the vegetarian dating a carnivore, Emporio has six appetizers and mains to choose from that will satisfy both appetites. Start off with a roasted beet salad, octopus with fingerling potatoes, grass-fed bison carpaccio or the raw hamachi crudo with fennel in a ginger-lemon-honey vinaigrette. Then go for the butternut squash and taleggio tortellini with butter and sage or the the free-range Hudson Valley duck breast with truffled lentils and broccoli rabe. Finish with a share of two desserts: a flour-less spicy chocolate cake and a passion-fruit panna cotta.

Almond (Flatiron)

Three courses, $55 per person; (212) 228-7557; almondnyc.com

It’s all about ruby-red pomegranates at Almond, where you’ll find dishes like oysters over pomegranate-prosecco granit, a sumac-rubbed rack of lamb with saffron jus (for the carnivore) and King salmon, smoked, roasted and served with baby root vegetables and pomegrante gastrique for the vegetarian. Dessert finishes the meal with a sticky toffee date cake with crème fraiche ice cream that should make you both happy.

Tocqueville (Union Square)

Three courses, $95; (212) 647-1515; tocquevillerestaurant.com

There’s lots to choose from here, with seven different appetizers, mains and desserts. We like the sound of the creamless purée of sunchokes, the yellowfin tuna tartare or the butternut squash risotto with mushrooms and sage to start. For the main, we’d take a roasted organic cod, the honey-glazed peking duck breast with Greenmarket cabbage or the dry-aged strip loin of beef and BBQ cheeks with tender leeks, carrots and citrus. The dessert’s a toss-up between Sicilian blood-orange cheesecake, a frozen banana soufflé or the confit of chestnut with crispy meringue and Kentucky bourbon-chocolate ice cream to share.

Hearth (East Village)

Four courses, $99 (Wine pairings, $49); (646) 602-1300; restauranthearth.com

Start off with a simple plate of grilled Nantucket Bay scallops with blood orange, frisée and pistachio paired with a Chateau Musar Blanc from Bekaa Valley. That’s followed by a black bass dressed in beets, potato and onion with a Chablis to the side. Then comes the tagliatellle with black truffles (and a Barbaresco from Piedmont) followed by a rack and ossobucco of lamb with Corona beans and artichoke paired with a Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. A meal like this gets its proper finish—a red velvet soufflé with chocolate sauce and XO Reserve Pyrat Rum from the British West Indies.

Photo by Thomas R. Stegelmann

Jared’s Favorite Off-The-Radar Manhattan Eateries

Despite the city’s current foodie and locavore fascination, it still seems that finding an eatery that boasts the unattainable trifecta – tastiness, healthiness, and sustainability – can be a frustrating endeavor. For the recently published Clean Plates Manhattan 2011, we researched over 400 New York City restaurants and sampled the 175 that most closely matched our aforementioned requirements. I do have a few lesser known favorites, and I’ve rounded up those 6 delicious (and nutritious!) restaurants for you below. Note that this list is subject to frequent change to accommodate both my fickle palate and the constant emergence of new and exciting city restaurants. Stay tuned for these updates on cleanplates.com.

I’ve divided my favorites of the moment into both vegetarian and carnivore-friendly categories:

Vegetarian:

The Juice Press (East Village) (212) 777-0034 thejuicepressonline.com

An impressive amount of cold-pressed juices, smoothies, homemade nut milks, and cleanse regimens are crammed into this sneaker-sized East Village space. Seating may be scarce, but the premade Ezekiel sprouted bread sandwiches and vegan desserts and breakfasts are perfect to enjoy on-the-go.

Souen Ramen (East Village) (212) 388-1155 souen.net

This addition to the myriad East Village ramen joints promises something a little extra – an organic, macrobiotic bowl of the comforting noodles and broth. Vegetarian and gluten-free options are available as well, like the hearty “yuba in soup” with tofu, cabbage, and a rich, soothing broth.

Counter (East Village) (212) 982-5870 counternyc.com

This shimmery East Village haunt puts an innovative spin on vegetarianism with its diverse offering of seasonal small plates and cocktails. The coral-hued bar is a great setting for pairing an organic glass of wine with a variety of Greenmarket-inspired snacks to share with a group. Counter is closing in February, so stop by in the next few weeks to get a taste.

Anything goes:

Northern Spy Food Co. (East Village) (212) 228-5100 northernspyfoodco.com

Perfect for a unique, organic lunch like the earthy mushroom & clothbound cheddar sandwich. For dinner, I recommend the kale salad (equipped with cheese, almonds and lemon dressing) and the lighter-than-air meatballs.

Brinkley’s (Soho) (212) 680-5600 brinkleysnyc.com

A meal at Brinkley’s can range from organic pub grub small plates to a sit-down dinner. Try sharing the sizable meatballs, spinach with goat cheese salad and tender grass-fed burger with friends.

Bare Burger (Greenwich Village) (212) 477-8125 bareburger.com

Splurge on comfort food without sacrificing the benefits of a sustainable meal. You’ll find grass-fed beef patties as well as options like ostrich, bison, lamb, and veggie burgers. All meats are hormone- and antibiotic-free as well as naturally raised.

Beginner’s Guide to Juicing in NYC

Drinking more fresh-pressed, veggie-filled juice (ideally using organic and locally grown produce) is a great way to get lots of nutrients and help your body clear out built-up toxins—if done correctly.

Overindulgence has become synonymous with the holidays, and after this excess, the next step is naturally to want to get healthier. We wine, we dine, we feast, and now we cleanse.

The juice cleansing craze stretches from daily home use kits to juice bars, raw food stops, and professionally-monitored cleansing clinics. With so much hype and different products out there, it’s important to be informed before you decide to commit to a cleanse.

So Why Juice?
Juicing is a great way to infuse your body with a large amount of nutrients while simultaneously giving it a break from all the hard work of the digestive process. And by juicing we don’t mean store bought cranberry or orange juice. We’re talking greens-based drinks loaded with tons of vegetables like kale, spinach and broccoli with carrot, pineapple or apple to sweeten them. The liquid nutrients you’ll find in these juices are a treat for your body; unlike those received from most meals, they are easily absorbed and quickly broken down.

OK, Then How Do I Juice?
There are many ways to introduce juice into your diet, such as simply adding a juice in as a snack a few times a week, making it a daily meal replacement or doing a full-juice cleanse/fast. However, it is important to understand that a juice fast is not for everyone. If this turns out to be you, don’t fret! You can introduce better nutrients into your body and allow yourself a chance to cleanse by eliminating certain foods such as gluten, sugar, dairy and meats and replacing them with “cleaner” foods with higher density nutrients such as vegetables, fruits, beans and, of course, fresh-pressed veggie juices.

I’m Ready To Do A Juice Fast. What Happens Next?
The benefit of doing a full fast is that you give your body a break from digesting whole foods, and you eliminate the toxins that are part of the modern day diet so that the body can relax, restore and heal. A typical juice fast/cleanse lasts between three to ten days, but before you choose from the various juice cleansing/fasting options, you may need to consult with a medical professional, doctor or nutritionist (our own founder of Clean Plates, resident nutritionist Jared Koch, is happy to help). Please understand that juice cleansing/fasting is only effective and safe when done correctly and according to your individual needs.

There are a few key things to think about when embarking on a juice fast. Before the cleanse you will need to reduce (or even better, eliminate) certain foods from your diet including wheat, dairy, sugar, caffeine and meat. During the fast you should rest and relax so that your body optimizes the energy necessary to cleanse. Post-cleanse you will want to slowly ease back into a very clean food plan limiting harder to digest and processed foods at first and, ideally, never returning to poor quality fare.

Below you will find some great options in and around Manhattan to satisfy your juice fix and kick start your New Year’s Reso’Juicin.

Juice Stops in Manhattan:

Liquiteria (East Village) (212) 358-0300 liquiteria.com

Pick up some juice, kick-back and relax at this staple East Village juice bar catering to locals, NYU students and celebrities alike. Liquiteria offers pressed juices, smoothies, liquid remedies and fresh squeezed juice, as well as some light nibbles: breakfast options, sandwiches, wraps and soups. They deliver locally (between Houston and 23rd and Avenue D and Fourth Avenue) and also ship nationally. In addition, Liquiteria is now offering a cleanse at home program, uniquely tailored to fit your lifestyle. Call for details.

FreeFoods (Midtown West/Times Square) (212) 302-7195 freefoodsnyc.com

Offering organic and market-driven food crafted for vegans and carnivores alike, this Midtown West outpost caters to the bustling streets of business people and shoppers during the day and late-workers and locals at night. Stop in for juice or a smoothie, take home some organic bakery goods, including vegan and gluten free-items, or munch on an organic burrito or free-range chicken Caesar salad. You’ll be sure to leave happy and your body will thank you.

One Lucky Duck (Gramercy) (212) 477-7151 oneluckyduck.com

A takeaway spot located next to their sister restaurant, Pure Food and Wine, One Lucky Duck is a great stop in Gramercy for all things juice and raw food. From taco salad and lasagna to ice cream and moon pies, each dish is made with clean, organic, vegan ingredients, raw and never cooked beyond 118 degrees. If you happen to find yourself on the West side instead, One Lucky Duck recently opened a new Chelsea location in the Chelsea Market. Also, One Lucky Duck just debuted the Not-Just-Juice Cleanse, allowing for anyone from juice fasting pro’s to particularly gluttonous eaters to give their bodies a rest and get some clean nutrients through juices and raw food. Each cleanse starts on Mondays, so call for the particulars.

The Juice Press (East Village) (212) 777-0034 thejuicepressonline.com

The Juice Press is committed to clean eating and is a one stop shop for this mantra, offering everything organic including juice, smoothies, salads, sandwiches, raw foods and dessert. With a wide variety and a wealth of knowledge on clean foods, you’ll be sure to leave The Juice Press satisfied. They also offer an at-home cleanse consisting of three different levels, based on your ailments and experience with juice cleansing. Stop in or call for more information.

B.Y.O.J. – Cleanse at Home:

Blue Print Cleanse (212) 414-5741 blueprintcleanse.com

Rated the “best juice cleanse” by New York Magazine and “the cleanse for foodies” by Food and Wine, the Blue Print Cleanse is a user-friendly cleanse that allows each client to choose their fast based on their individual needs and history. Whether it’s just juice or juice and food, call BPC to consult on what is best for you. The cleanse can be picked up from various locations around the city or simply have it delivered straight to your door in no time.

Cooler Cleanse (212) 531-1110 coolercleanse.com

Backed by Salma Hayek, who specifically requested a cleanse that would be “as effective and enjoyable as possible,” this cleanse “is so good, you’ll never know it’s Vegan,” according to the Daily Candy. Offering a variety of cleanses including three-day, five-day, custom cleanses or juice and food delivered nation-wide, this organic cleanse is sure to fit your criteria for taste, ease and squeaky-clean feeling insides.

Organic Avenue (212) 358-0500organicavenue.com

The food of “LOVE”: Live Organic Vegan Experience. All the food and juice contained in these cleanses are raw and unheated, have no added chemicals, and contain no animal by-products. The idea is to “nourish the body and spirit” and Organic Avenue has five programs available that do just that. Stop in to one of their three locations in Manhattan or call them on the phone and find out what is best for you.

Escape to a Juicy Retreat:

American Yogini (866) 964-4649 americanyogini.com

The Hohm juice cleanse retreat and the Hohm juice cleanse delivered are the signature detox rituals American Yogini offers. They have a variety of cleansing options to best suit your needs; whether it’s a few days stay on the East End of Long Island where you can escape the bustling city streets, practice yoga from 9:30-10:30 a.m. daily and cleanse on your own time or attend a workshop weekend of cleansing and yoga. Or you can opt to Hohm at home with their juice cleanse delivery program. American Yogini offers private raw food coaching and raw juice fasting for individuals or groups.

The Juicy Naam (212) 876-6000 thejuicynaam.com

Begun by a worn-out Wall Street Yogi turned wellness-guru, The Juicy Naam is a juice bar and healing center that, along with using local organic produce from neighboring farms, provides an outlet for cleansing, yoga and healing bodywork treatments from June-October. In addition to two Long Island locations, The Juicy Naam has a store in The Hotel Wales in Manhattan.

This article was updated in January 2012 to reflect the new location and phone number  The Juicy Naam.