New West Village eatery Ellary’s Greens is that rare breed of restaurant that health-conscious New Yorkers can bring their kale-eschewing foodie friends to. The ingredients are organic and green juice is on the menu; and locally-raised pork is cured and smoked into bacon on-site.
“I wanted a place where people can come together and everybody can eat,” says founder Leith Hill, a clean-eating New Orleans native who inherited an appetite for quinoa and veggies from her father. “And everyone can feel good about what they’re eating because the ingredients are so nutritious, and every dish is healthy, clean, and good for you.” (Plus, the beverage options range from kombucha to a full menu of organic and biodynamic wines.)
We stopped by the airy, garden-style restaurant, which opened on Carmine Street (in the old Grey Dog) in April, to check out the space and sample the menu. Here’s our first-look (and taste) report. —Lisa Elaine Held
Faithful to its moniker, Ellary’s Greens is full of plant life, and its airy space, light wood furnishings, and exposed brick give it an urban garden party feel. You can sit at a table (all of which have outlets for phone charging!) or on a stool at the bar, where you’ll most likely be greeted at some point by founder Hill, who’ll really want to know and take care of you. (While I was there, a customer stopped by to show her a photo of his just-born baby.)
Chef Alex Oefeli uses high-quality natural ingredients that are almost always local and organic, and butter and cream are not allowed on premises. (You won’t miss it: Everything we tried was deliciously flavorful.)
The menu includes sandwiches (like the Chickpea Burger, pictured), soups, and substantial salads made with nutrient-rich ingredients like curly kale, red quinoa, seaweed, and lentils.
Or you can order from the create-an-entree section divided into Vegetables, Sides, and Proteins. (“Weight-lifters come in and order three proteins,” Hill jokes.) The Pan Roasted Sweet Potato with with Pickled Zucchini and Cilantro pictured above is a Side, the Red Swiss Chard with Roasted Crimini Mushrooms and Pine Vinaigrette is a Vegetable. Proteins include Grilled Salmon and Crispy Roasted Organic Chicken Breast. Ellary’s also serves weekend brunch.
Hill is particularly proud of the restaurant’s in-house smoker, which they use to infuse smoky flavor into dishes like these Deviled Eggs, chicken, and tofu. The bacon is also smoked after being cured on-site with celery juice, juniper, and spices (no nasty nitrates here).
For those who’d rather avoid meat or other food groups, the menu has clear designations throughout for vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free options.
Ellary’s also has a juice and smoothie bar, with over 20 concoctions to choose from. Juices are made using a Nutrifaster (a hydraulic juicer), but Hill plans to also start cold-pressing and bottling juices soon. The bottled juices would be sold alongside some other healthful beverages that are currently stocked in the fridge—like Kombucha Brooklyn and Harmless Harvest coconut water.
To satisfy your sweet tooth, Ellary’s Greens has a selection of vegan desserts, like Raw Chocolate Mousse and Chocolate Strawberry Shortcake. The baker also skips white sugar and instead uses better-for-you coconut sugar.