New York’s Healthiest, Tastiest Restaurants (Including Chipotle? Dirty Bird To-Go?)

You gotta love a guide to “healthy” restaurants that not only recommends fried-chicken joint Dirty Bird To-Go, but puts it in its top ten. Licensed nutritional consultant Jared Koch and food writer Alex Van Buren have penned Clean Plates, a guide to 75 of the “healthiest, tastiest restaurants in Manhattan” (out March 31). One of them happens to be Chipotle. WTF? As you’d expect, Clean Plates recommends quite a few vegetarian, vegan, and macrobiotic restaurants (so long as they don’t use too much seitan or fake soy products). But Koch is an environmentally conscious, back-to-basics kind of guy rather than a carb-and-calorie counter, so he also puts his stamp of approval on restaurants that serve grass-fed, organic, free-range, sustainably raised meats from local farms, so long as they offer a good amount of vegetable options and don’t overemphasize dairy, shellfish, veal, foie gras, and (in the case of desserts) artificial sweeteners. Other factors (cooking methods, water filtration) are also taken into account.

As you can imagine, the reviews are laden with all the buzzwords above and plenty more, but to their credit, they’re more critical and geared toward discerning diners than you’d expect. The authors ate together at all of the restaurants, and Van Buren goes into detail about each dish they tried (we’re told the lamb at Savoy is rather chewy and the wild salmon arrived cold at the center). Just as intriguing as the critics’ picks are the restaurants that were deemed healthy but didn’t make the cut because the food didn’t taste good enough: Belcourt, Employees Only, Irving Mill, Jane, Lever House, Union Square Cafe, Quintessence, etc. Then there’s the list of tasty restaurants that didn’t meet health standards: Artisanal, Balthazar, Chanterelle, Craftbar, Daniel, Del Posto, Jewel Bako, Market Table, the Momofukus, Per Se, etc. Given that the authors frowned on chemical additives, wd~50 obviously didn’t rank. So what were the top ten critic picks? Those would be: Blue Hill, Dirty Bird To-Go, Gilt, Gotham Bar & Grill, Il Buco, Mas (farmhouse), Sacred Chow, Salt, and Telepan. Half of the entire list of favorites is below:

Angelica Kitchen
Back Forty
Better Burger
Blue Hill
Café Cluny
Candle Café
Caravan of Dreams
Citrus Grill
Community Food and Juice
Cosmic Cantina
Five Points
Gotham Bar & Grill
Green Table
Hundred Acres
Jimmy’s No. 43
Le Pain Quotidien
Mas (farmhouse)
Natural Gourmet Institute
Pure Food & Wine
Raw Soul
Sacred Chow
Sanctuary T
The Place
Uncle Marky’s Organics
The Waverly Inn

For the rest of the list, visit

New York’s Healthiest, Tastiest Restaurants (Including Chipotle? Dirty