Last week I got my hands of the new healthy eating restaurant guidebook Clean Plates NYC, a guide to the healthiest tastiest restaurants in Manhattan, written by Jared Koch and Alex Van Buren. The cover slogan says that it’s a book for “vegetarians and carnivores,” and vegans, I might add. And this cute powder blue travel-sized book has more in its pages that simply restaurant reviews. The first 75 pages are filled with practical healthy eating tips, ingredient facts and dining out advice. Click ahead for my review…
Clean Plates NYC, Book Review
Shelf Appeal: I love this cute little powder blue book. It is soft, flexible and easy to stuff into your purse or to-go bag. The format is incredibly easy to read, and each review has quick-reference icons to help you identify what qualities the restaurant has. Icons include: vegan menu, price ranges, flexitarian, meals for 1, vegetarian menu, primarily meat-based menu, macrobiotic menu, raw menu, gluten-free options, naturally sweetened desserts, critics pick.
The Good: The moment I picked up this book I had to pounce into the pages to make sure all my favorites had made the cut: Blossom-check. Caravan of Dreams-check. Josie’s-check. Candle 79-check. Babycakes-check. Counter-check. Viva Herbal Pizzeria-check. Chipotle-shocked check. Liquiteria-check. Pure Food and Wine-check. Teany-check. Le Pain Quotidien-check. Spring Street-check. But not making the cut-Morimoto, Kitchen Club, and a few neighborhood favorites. But all in all, my faves did get well represented. And the best part was that I discovered a plethora of restaurant options that I had never thought of before. But besides the reviews, I was very impressed with author Jared Koch’s first 75 pages of wellness tips, eating advice and dining out information. He covered everything from food categories, beverages, common ingredient questions and myths and even one of my favorite tips about drinking coconut water to replenish electrolytes. I suspect that health-minded NYC residents will love this book. But other people who will love this book: foodies who visit NYC, health-minded foodies and eating out gurus, healthy chefs and restaurant industry folks and anyone who wants to delve a bit deeper into the components that make a truly “clean plate” beyond simply old-fashioned criteria like ‘low calorie’ ‘low fat’ ‘vegetarian’ etc. Just because something says it is light, natural, healthy or even vegan doesn’t necessarily mean it will be a healthy ‘clean plate’ and what a great lesson to come away with after reading this book.
The Other: I was very impressed with this book. I admired the authors to have the restraint to cut the picks down to only 75 restaurants. It makes the standards quite high-good for a true healthy eating guide book. My only slight critique is that, like many NYCers who read this book, a few of my fave restaurants didn’t make the main list cut. One of them being The Kitchen Club. Kitchen Club did get a mention on the supplemental list, but it still bummed me out. It may be confusing for some to figure out why certain restaurants that have a ‘clean plate’ item on the menu don’t get the stamp of approval, but I also understand that the authors had to make cuts somewhere. It can be explained by another favorite of mine-Cafeteria. I know, it’s filled with greasy meat-filled foods…BUT it has an amazing vegan veggie burger! Optional green salad on the side instead of fries. But since the veggie burger is the only vegan item on the menu I can easily see why Cafeteria wouldn’t make the list. So goes my critique of this book-a few clean plate orders in NYC might not be at a Clean Plates approved restaurant...fair enough.
Last Word: For $14 you get online access and a handy cute book with a lot of awesome healthy eating info that you may or may not already know, but since it’s presented in such a fresh way you’ll want to read it again and again. Makes a great weekend read-sunshine approved.
…Read it all-cleaned my plate of this book!
You can even check out Jared Koch’s twitter account here: http://twitter.com/jarkoch