Farm-to-table dining in New York City might seem like an anomaly; while the city certainly has its share of tables, farms are hard to come by. Yet Greenwich Village manages to host a number of such restaurants, sourcing food from upstate farms, local waterways, and in some cases, rooftop gardens.
141 West 10th Street (between Greenwich Avenue and Waverly Place)
The entrance to Bell Book & Candle. Image: Dan/Flickr
Bell Book & Candle is one of the restaurants with a rooftop garden, which accounts for roughly 60% of its produce. In addition to herbs, the aeroponic garden grows lettuces, eggplants, tomatoes, and other vegetables. Which is not to say that you need to be a vegetarian to enjoy a hearty meal here. Popular dishes include rock shrimp fettuccine, a classic cheeseburger, and a roasted half-chicken with heirloom potatoes and roasted garlic, although as is the case with farm-to-table restaurants as a rule, the menu changes seasonally. The wine list, however, is not limited to local varietals; offerings from as far afield as Slovenia, Australia, and Chile appear alongside New York and Napa wines.
283 West 12th Street (between West 4th Street and 8th Avenue)
Blenheim serves largely to showcase produce, meat, and poultry from the 150-acre Blenheim Hill Farm in the Catskills. Husband-and-wife team Morten Sohlberg and Min Ye own and operate both the farm and the restaurant. In addition to Icelandic sheep, Hereford beef cattle, and free-range chickens, the farm includes a hydroponic greenhouse for year-round vegetables and beehives for local honey. This translates to menu items such as fried chicken with hot honey, risotto with seasonal vegetables and pistachio pesto, and pepper-crusted strip steak.
75 Washington Place (between Washington Square West and 6th Avenue)
A tasting of pickled vegetables at Blue Hill Farm. Image: Edsel Little/Flickr
Located in a former speakeasy, Blue Hill Farm relies largely on ingredients from farms in New York and New England: cultivated and wild mushrooms from Forest Harvest Farm in Petersham, MA; organic vegetables from Tamarack Hollow Farm in Plainfield, VT; grass-fed beef and lamb from Herondale Farm in Ancramdale, NY. Diners can choose between four-course and six-course tasting menus. The dishes change weekly; recent selections included a summer vegetable roll with Hudson Valley shrimp, kohlrabi, and black garlic; free-range chicken with apricots and Swiss chard stems and leaves; and badger flame beets served with smoked farmer’s cheese, plums, and cocoa nibs.
117 Perry Street (between Hudson and Greenwich Streets)
Among the local purveyors Left Bank sources from are Widow’s Hole Oysters in Greenport, NY; upstate’s Blooming Hill Farm; and Brooklyn coffee roasters Café Grumpy. Recent fare included steak and frites with chimichurri, gnocchi with braised greens and fresh ricotta, and shrimp aguachile with cucumber and a fresh corn tortilla. Or eat brunch for your main meal, though it may be tough to choose between the likes of potato latkes and a Dutch baby served with berries, butter, and maple syrup.
90 Bedford Street (between Barrow and Grove Streets)
The Little Owl. Image: Teri Tynes/Flickr
While this intimate bistro is known primarily for its meatball sliders and neighborhood-hangout ambience, much of its food is sourced locally; in fact, chef/owner Joey Campanaro himself reels in some of the seafood that finds its way on the menu. Seasonal vegetables and salads keep company with the likes of pork chops served with butter beans, Parmesan, and wild dandelions and New York strip steak with mushrooms and pappardelle stroganoff. Be sure to leave room for the spiced sugar beignets with raspberry sauce and Nutella.
21 West 8th Street (between 5th and 6th Avenues)
Opened just last year by Dan Kluger, the acclaimed former executive chef at ABC Kitchen and ABC Cocina, Loring Place is practically a paean to the Union Square Greenmarket, with many of its ingredients coming from farms that sell there. A wood-burning grill produces cheeseburgers with house-cured bacon and pepper aioli as well as Pekin duck with turnips, cherries, and pistachios. Pizzas made with house-milled whole wheat are also proven winners. The house-made whole-wheat bread with Hudson Valley butter is a foolproof way to start your meal.
54 Carmine Street (between Bleecker and Bedford Streets)
Pancakes at Market Table. Image: Robb1e/Flickr
Co-owned by The Little Owl’s Joey Campanaro, Market Table reflects chef and fellow co-owner Mike Price’s upbringing on a Maryland farm by the Chesapeake Bay; hence entrees such as pan-roasted codfish served with lobster-and-asparagus home fries and an ever-changing selection of roasted and grilled vegetables. Weekend brunch encompasses both the classic (buttermilk pancakes with New York maple syrup;, poached organic eggs and ham with hollandaise sauce and buttermilk biscuits) and the unexpected (roasted vegetable falafel; asparagus and sopressata flatbread with pesto and whipped ricotta).
39 Downing Street (between Bedford and Varick Streets)
Mas is a Provençal term for a small farm, and this restaurant sources ingredients from organic, sustainable farms outside the city. For dinner you can choose between four-course and six-course tasting menus or appetizers such as fluke tartare with hibiscus-pickled onions and snow peas and entrees such as chicken from upstate’s Violet Hill Farm wrapped in Swiss chard with maitake mushrooms, glazed salsify, and smoked new potatoes. If you refuse to consider produce a true dessert, that might be because you have yet to taste Mas’s zucchini cake with cream cheese icing, blueberries, quinoa, and candied squash blossoms.
18 Greenwich Avenue (at 10th Street)
A rooftop farm as well as its 40-acre farm in the Hudson Valley provide this trattoria and wine bar with artichokes, corn, heirloom tomatoes, sweet peas, mushrooms, and other fresh vegetables along with chickens. These farm-fresh ingredients complement the house-made pastas and meats from other local producers, resulting in dishes such as pork from Meiller Farm in upstate New York served with roasted fennel and orange mostardo and orecchiette with house-made sausage, broccoli rabe, and Fresno chili.