And while the super simple dish is the easiest of many ways to get your daily dose of the beauty- and health-boosting superfood, more New York restaurants are adding creative twists to the traditional (and perfectly delicious) olive-oil-and-sea-salt preparation. Think a drizzle of curry oil or a pile of pickled carrot slaw.
Café Gitane owner Luc Levy has seen a jump in avocado toast orders at his hip Nolita restaurant, and while he credits the demand to an overall shift towards lighter menu options, celebrity love hasn’t hurt, either. “Olivia Wilde craved the toast during her pregnancy,” he says. And Maya Jankelowitz, co-owner of Jack’s Wife Freda, says drool-worthy Instagram shots have made the dish itself a celebrity, too. “The more Instagram pics, the more avo toasts on the table. It’s the reality we live in,” she says.
Whether you’re already a devotee or are just getting ready to jump on the bandwagon, here are five healthy, delicious downtown dishes to order (or make at home) now. All will look smashing on your plate, we promise.—Molly Gallagher
(Photo: Jack’s Wife Freda)
The storied Nolita café serves an amped up version of the classic recipe. It’s made with ”Healthy Loaf’” from Orwasher’s Bakery, avocados, lemon juice, chili flakes, and a touch of olive oil. The dish has become a house favorite, appearing on nearly every table and, almost as often, on Instagram. (Check #cafegitane for proof.) $7.25, 242 Mott Street, Nolita, www.cafegitanenyc.com
(Photo: Café Gitane)
This trendy vegan cafe and juice bar makes its toast with fresh seven grain bread, smashed avocado, curry seeds, and curry oil—and serves it with apple slices. “We are definitely selling more and more smashed avocado toast,” says Butcher’s Daughter general manager David Ochoa Rodriguez. “Every month we have to increase the quantity. We actually have many people coming in and just asking for it.” May we suggest getting a popsicle for dessert? $12, 19 Kenmare Street, Nolita, www.thebutchersdaughter.com
(Photo: The Butcher’s Daughter)
Food Network regular Amanda Freitag heads up this restored Art Deco spot that shouldn’t be confused with a diner of the old-school, waffle-joint variety. She makes her toast with either pumpernickel or multigrain bread and avocado mousse with lime and whipped crème fraiche, tops it with thin slices of cucumber and diced fresno peppers, and drizzles it with extra virgin olive oil and sea salt. “‘Toast’ in general has been quite a popular thing…who knew?” she muses. “I think the popularity of avocado in general is on the rise. They are just so darn delicious.” $9, 210 10th Avenue, Chelsea, www.empire-diner.com
At the always-packed, fashion-crowd-favorite Soho restaurant, the avocado toast is made with lightly toasted seeded bread, mashed avocado, homemade cherry tomato jam, and pickled julienne carrot slaw—and is topped with zaatar (umm…meet you there?). Plus, it’s served with a side of arugula salad in a shallot dressing, so you get your dose of greens, too. “The avocado doesn’t discriminate. It’s for everybody,” says Maya Jankelowitz, co-owner of Jack’s Wife Freda. Agreed. $11, 224 Lafayette Street, Soho, www.jackswifefreda.com
(Photo: Jack’s Wife Freda)
If you haven’t checked out this recently opened maritime-inspired Soho locale, here’s another reason. Navy makes its avocado toast with a toasted piece of cornmeal sourdough bread and mashed avocado—and tops it with pickled fennel, pickled mustard seeds, radishes, fresh herbs, extra virgin olive oil, Maldon sea salt, and chili flakes. “We’ve only been open since February, but I knew I wanted avocado toast on the menu…and guests seem to really enjoy it,” says executive chef, Camille Becerra. $10, 137 Sullivan Street, www.navynyc.com