Little Black Book

The Health Guru's NYC Dining Guide

by Jared Koch
Food diary. Photo: mikemccaffrey / Flickr

New York Fashion Week is a not-so-subtle reminder to lay off the pork belly and full-cream coffee. At least for a few days. Jared Koch — nutritionist, yoga instructor, health coach, and founder of the Clean Plates guidebooks — reminds us about healthy eating options in the city.

NEW YORK CITY – When I started researching and reviewing healthy and sustainable restaurants across Manhattan in the summer of 2008, I visited and ate at over 125 in the first three months. It was an incredible culinary experience to sample such a diversity of food in such a short period of time. Though I do not dine with the same intensity that I used to, I still love to experience new chefs and cuisines, and my favorites dishes and places change often. Here's a snapshot of my current go-to spots, and what I like to eat at each.


Souen Organic Ramen
326 E. 6th St.; +1-212-388-1155
On a cold day or when I'm looking for a hearty and comforting meal filled with vegetables and flavor, I'll head over to Souen for one of their delicious soups. My two top picks are spicy miso and seafood ramen, both with buckwheat noodles. If I'm looking for a smaller option or something to accompany another dish, I'll go for yuba dumpling soup as an appetizer. It's all delicious.

Bare Burger

535 LaGuardia Pl.; +1-212-477-8125
514 Third Ave.; +1-212-679-2273
85 Second Ave.; +1-212-510-8610
Yes, a burger can be part of a healthy and sustainable lifestyle — if it's grass-fed, of course. When I crave one, I'll order it on a multi-grain roll with a side salad. I'm a Classic kind of guy, but they have great offerings (pineapple and Canadian bacon; cheddar and avocado) for adventurous eaters.

Dig Inn

Dig Inn Seasonal Market
80 Pine St.; +1-212-785-1110 
17 E. 17th St.; +1-212-253-7676
40 W. 55th St.; +1-212-246-6844 
150 E. 52nd St.; +1-212-421-3055
275 Madison Ave.; +1-212-697-7867
This is probably the best value for healthy and sustainable food in the city. For under $10, they serve a full to-go meal that's quick and tasty and made with locally sourced animal foods, produce, and whole grains. I like many of the different options here and try to mix it up each time I go. This place eliminates the excuse that it's expensive or inconvenient to eat healthy.

One Lucky Duck

One Lucky Duck
125 E. 17th St.; +1-212-477-7151
75 Ninth Ave.; +1-212-255-4300
38 E. 21st St.; +1-212-982-1231
When I'm craving a big tasty salad, I head over to One Lucky Duck for a raw vegan Caesar with avocado. Made with romaine, nori, and pumpkin-seed-and-macademia "Parmesan," it's loaded with nutrients, is great tasting, and really fills me up. If I'm in the mood for something sweet, I'll top off the meal with one of their delicious mallomars.


159 Second Ave.; +1-212-677-2301
One of my favorite, naturally sweet desserts is dark chocolate hemp-milk vegan ice cream at Stogo, the gourment dairy-free ice cream shop. It's creamy, rich, and delicious. Usually I'll just go for a scoop, but I recently had it in a milkshake with coconut milk and a little vegan vanilla ice cream — wow, it was quite the treat.


The Meatball Shop

The Meatball Shop
84 Stanton St.; +1-212-982-8895
64 Greenwich St.; +1-212-982-7815
170 Bedford St.; +1-718-551-0520
I especially like the Everything but the Kitchen Sink salad, made with butter lettuce, roasted parsnips, chickpeas, and meatballs (which can be made with everything from organic beef to veggie lentil). You can also get meatballs served over a plate of seasonal vegetables. The atmosphere is laid-back and fun, and it's all very affordable.

Blue Hill

Blue Hill
75 Washington Pl.; +1-212-539-1776
When it's time for a special occasion, Blue Hill hits all the right notes: impeccable sourcing, attentive service, simple and divine flavor. It's a wonderful experience.

Rouge Tomate
10 E. 60th St.; +1-646-237-8977
I've never had a bad meal here. The food is seasonal, locally sourced, and thoughtfully procured. It looks like a modern art museum, and has ecofriendly furniture and floors (certified by the Forest Stewardship Council). It's classy but not uptight — great for a business meeting or date night.

Hudson Clearwater

Hudson Clearwater
447 Hudson St.; +1-212-989-3255
I love this hidden little place for a fun night out with a friends. I recently had a duck entrée prepared just right, tender and bursting with flavor. I especially like sitting in the airy courtyard on a nice evening.

A note about juicing
I'm a big fan of green juice. I don't have a favorite juice bar place, but I'll often drop by one of the Organic Avenue or Juice Press locations, Liquiteria, and The Squeeze truck in Union Square. I also like the newly opened juice bar inside City Bakery.


Download their new app (it's free) for healthy dining suggestions in NYC.


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