Farm to table. Plant to plate. Locavorism. Sustainable dining. Whatever you call it, mindful eating is a movement that’s here to stay. Sure, you can venture out of New York City and base a mini-trip around one of these eco-friendly eateries, but you don’t need to. The outer boroughs are full of restaurants that bring the farm to the city. Here are twelve of oM’s favorite green restaurants in Brooklyn and Queens.
Farm on Adderley | Ditmas Park | Brooklyn
Named after Cape Town’s eponymous non-rural thoroughfare, The Farm brings fresh flavors to the bustling Cortelyou Road. The menu changes with the season, the summer bringing specials like a salad of heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers, honeydew, watermelon and lemongrass gelée. Thankfully, the Farm Burger is a mainstay. Pasture-raised heaven on earth, the juicy patty comes on an English muffin with homemade fries and a curry mayo dip. The Farm fills up quickly, from front bar to back garden; savor a seasonal cocktail while you wait. Later, reward yourself for a meal well eaten with a delectably rich salted chocolate mousse.
How to get there: Take the Q train to Cortelyou Rd.
Rockaway Taco | Far Rockaway | Queens
New York’s answer to the New England clam shack, Rockaway Taco feeds Queens’ hungry beachgoers with the stuff surfer dreams are made of: fish tacos. Sure, the waterfront favorite also serves up notable chorizo, al pastor (braised, grilled pork with jalapenos and pineapples), carne asada and tofu (with soy and seaweed), but the fish taco (starring battered tilpaia, spiced mayo and lime) draws the crowds. Shackmaster Andrew Field gets most ingredients from local sources like Blooming Hill Organic Farm, Red Hook Community Farm, The Meat Hook and Tortilleria Nixtamal (he’s still working on finding fish closer to home). Field’s non-taco offerings include burritos, a cucumber salad and chilaquiles, the latter topped with a fried egg from his own backyard chickens.
How to get there: Take the A to Broad Channel, transfer to the S to Rockaway Park-Beach 98th St.
Rose Water | Park Slope | Brooklyn
Mediterranean flavors find their way into Rose Water’s seasonal offerings, like seared Spanish mackerel with pesto-esque Green Goddess sauce. Committed to cooking with “as much local, regional, organic and sustainably raised food as the seasons will allow,” this Park Slope hideaway elevates simple ingredients to delicious new heights. Hush puppies and bacon bring extra comfort to grilled pork loin, while baked polenta with goat cheese brings comfort to vegetarian diners. Take advantage of the seasonal market menu Monday through Thursday (except holidays) to try three courses for $27. The dining room is small, so make a reservation to avoid waiting.
How to get there: Take the D, N or R train to Union St.
iCi | Fort Greene | Brooklyn
Fresh. Seasonal. Local. iCi declares its ethos across the top of its website and throughout its market-centric menu. As laid back as its Fort Greene home, iCi’s garden is a leafy respite from the on-top-of-each-otherness of midtown highrises and West Village hotspots. Move from local, artisanal cheeses, a market salad or a Flying Pigs Farm pork belly toast to the likes of a seared hanger steak, crispy chicken, flaky skate or your choice of a veggie or meaty ricotta cavatelli. Pair it all with your pick from iCi’s unique list of natural wines. The bottles may be European, but cocktails like the Sage & Berry (Farmer’s Botanical Gin, muddled sage and seasonal berries) are homegrown.
How to get there: Transfer to the G train from the L train at Lorimer or 7 train at 45th Rd.-Court House Square and get off at Clinton-Washington Aves.
Recipe by Chef Matteo of 4 Course Vegan
What You’ll Need:
How to Cook It:
2) Puree all ingredients, except lemon zest, in high-speed blender until smooth. Stir in lemon zest.
3) Pour basil puree over zucchini linguine. Gently toss to evenly distribute the basil puree. Add cherry tomatoes and pine nuts, gently toss again. Evenly distribute the linguine amongst 4 plates. Garnish with micro basil.
Roberta’s | Bushwick | Brooklyn
Gritty warehouse surroundings? Check. Mason jar glasses? Check. Rooftop garden? Check. Roberta’s has all the makings of Brooklyn hipness and then some (Stumptown and Blue Bottle brews). Bushwick’s locavore darling cooks up new school Neapolitan pizza (like the cotto- jalapeno- and pineapple-topped Da Kine) in an old school wood-fired oven from Italy. Roberta’s veggie toppings and offerings like the “fairy tale eggplant,” whose magic lies in little mascarpone clouds, are Brooklyn-bred (as is their Brooklyn bread). When the guys behind the pies outgrew their greenhouse atop a shipping container-cum-radio station, they turned to bigger roofs in Long Island City. They teamed up with rooftop agri-guru Ben Flanner to found Brooklyn Grange, the rooftop farm where they now source much of their greens.
How to get there: Take the L train to Morgan Ave.
The Grocery | Carroll Gardens | Brooklyn
Housed in the bottom floor and beautiful back patio of a Carroll Gardens brownstone, dinner at The Grocery feels like eating at your minimalist, serene home…if you added an extra touch of refinement and a host of attentive servers. Tasty fried vegetables dot the appetizer list, while fresh market produce meet on the ever-changing vegetable tasting starter. A bacon-basted peach adds a little extra indulgence to the pork chop, while fish entrees err towards the light and bright. Homemade ice creams, like the mint-from-the-backyard-garden chip, make the dessert list extra sweet.
How to get there: Take the F or transfer to the G and get off at Carroll St.
Applewood | Park Slope | Brooklyn
New flavors grace the menu each day at this old turn-of-the-century Park Slope storefront. Applewood’s devotion to cooking with local, sustainable dishes moved them to take matters quite literally into their own hands. Not only are their vegetables from local farmers and fish always wild, but most meats are butchered on-site. Innovative touches infuse the fresh, rustic menu, like the sour milk mayonnaise, cantaloupe and herb oil decorating Rhode Island scallops or the sweet corn puree atop a grilled beef sirloin special (part of the four course, $50 tasting menu).
How to get there: Take the F or transfer to the G and get off at 7th Ave.
Eat | Greenpoint | Brooklyn
Eat is as simple as it sounds. One of the greenest spots you’ll find in Greenpoint, this stark little café is too market-driven for paper menus. Look to the chalkboard on the wall for that day’s (very) shortlist of locally-sourced vegetarian eats. Salads, soups and bean- egg- and grain-based dishes are the usual suspects at dinner, while lunch might bring a sandwich and frittata. Place your order at the kitchen counter (don’t miss out on the homebrewed teas and homemade whole wheat bread), grab a set of silverware, pour yourself a glass of water and relax. Expect a healthy meal that celebrates simple ingredients without masking them and leaves you satisfied, not stuffed.
How to get there: Transfer to the G train from the L train at Lorimer or 7 train at 45th Rd.-Court House Square and get off at Nassau St. or take the L train to Graham Ave. and transfer to the B43 bus at Graham Ave. and Metropolitan Ave. station towards Box St. Get off at Meserole Ave.
4 Course Vegan | Williamsburg | Brooklyn
Dining at 4 Course Vegan isn’t just a seasonal experience; it’s a one-off experience. Chef Matteo whips up four new courses each week (five if you’re super lucky) using the ingredients he finds at the Union Square greenmarket. 4 Course Vegan is about the relationship between land, farm, chef and diner. Unless you’re rolling deep, chances are you’ll make a few new friends sitting at a communal table. Dinners take place each Saturday in the chef’s Williamsburg loft. From wild mushroom paté with smoked eggplant and artichoke puree to rice flour crepes with spring vegetables and masala curry, you never know what you’re gonna get…until the beginning of the week, when Chef Matteo posts the tentative menu online.
How to get there: Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 718-599-5913 for reservations. Address and directions are sent with confirmation.
Nitehawk | Williamsburg | Brooklyn
Saul Bolton, the Michelin man behind Saul Restaurant (another stellar pick for your eco-eating list), is swapping out corn syrup for a more artisanal movie-theater dining experience in Williamsburg. Mike n’ Ikes take a back seat to Ronnybrook parfait and homemade raspberry soft serve and vanilla cookie sandwiches. Keep things light with a seasonal salad, or dig into a comforting film-inspired special, like The Bellflower Road Trip spicy tomato-topped beef meatloaf sandwich or the Midnight in Paris country pate. “Snackier” options include housemade jerky, pickles and deviled eggs. With full menu of gourmet foods and specialty beer and cocktails, Nitehawk’s not your average cinema. That said, where there are movies, there is popcorn. Get yours classic, or Nitehawk style (topped with cojita cheese, lime and cilantro).
How to get there: Take the L train to Bedford Ave.
Vesta | Astoria | Queens
This Astoria trattoria and wine bar is inspired by Italy and guided by the local greenmarkets. The result? Simple delights like chilled green pea and potato soup with thyme and marscapone, local greens with housemade Bocconcini di Mozzarella and crostini or (free range) pork butt Milanese with argula, balsamic pickled onion and tomato. Thin crust pizzas (available with whole wheat dough for a few dollars) tantalize with flavor combos like potato, pancetta, carmelized onions, apple and goat cheese.
How to get there: Take the N or Q train to 30th Ave.
LIC Market | Long Island City | Queens
Bringing a welcome touch of country to the decidedly un-scenic Long Island City, this café and marketplace is an all day destination. Drop in to try that day’s frittata (made with Miller’s Crossing eggs), take home a jar of homemade fig jam and circle back for the shredded brisket sandwich or lunch specials like scallop and grape tomato risotto. Wednesday through Friday, LIC’s dinner brings mainstays ike the market burger and seasonal creations like a pan roasted East Coast halibut with roasted mushrooms and asparagus, tapenade and orage zest. Like its menu, LIC Market’s setting is local and sustainable, made from reclaimed materials from around town.
How to get there: Take the E or M train to 23rd St.-Ely Ave. or the 7 train to 45th Rd.-Court House Square
Photo: Kate Sterlin
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