Chances are, if you’re a Yalie, you’ve had food from Claire’s (probably cake) at some point: for a friend’s birthday, to anesthetize the brutal pain that is midterm week or maybe as incentive to participate in campus extracurricular events that you’re totally passionate about. Claire’s is especially famous for it’s delectable desserts (do I hear Lithuanian coffee cake?), offered in vegan, gluten-free and even no-cholesterol options.
But did you know Claire’s also sells omelettes? And salads? And curry? Yup. So…there’s more to Claire’s than sugary nirvana? That’s right. In fact, Claire’s has entire menus of sandwiches, pizzas, Mexican entrees and veggie burgers. Wait. Veggie Burgers? Oh, yeah: did I mention all their dishes are 100% vegetarian?
Owned by Claire and Frank Criscuolo, this quaint, eco-friendly restaurant has been serving New Haven since 1975. Claire’s exclusively uses whole and multigrain breads, non-GMO produce and organically sourced foods. In the words of Claire herself, “our bottom line is people, and when you care about people, you want to feed them real food.”
Aww, thanks Mrs. C. We care about you too. But actually, though – after trying your menu items for breakfast, lunch and dinner, we (my lovely photographers and I) were thoroughly impressed.
Breakfast: Organic Egg-white Omelette
Cooked in olive oil and filled with sautéed spinach, mushrooms and avocado, this protein and fiber-packed dish was a hit with fellow nutrition-enthusiast Katie Fletcher. After the meal, Katie remarked, “I feel like I got in all my healthy fats for the day!” Mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs and PUFAs) for the win!
Lunch: Roasted Organic Vegetable Salad
Meanwhile, I ordered this aesthetic assortment of herb and garlic roasted vegetables with house-marinated cubes of tofu over a bed of baby spinach. Which dressing, you ask? Balsamic Orange Vinaigrette, of course: the right balance of light and tangy. Now meat-lovers, take note: it’s possible to get protein without the steak. Tofu is actually one of the highest sources of non-meat protein, at 10 grams of protein per ½ cup of tofu. This reservoir of B-vitamins and calcium is also easier to digest than meat! (Translation: no more embarrassing post meal stomach troubles.)
Dinner: Organic Pumpkin and Tofu Curry
At dinner, I was feeling adventurous, so I went for the most exotic sounding thing on the menu. Granted, pumpkin and tofu don’t seem like an appetizing combination, but I scraped the entire dish clean. The sweet and savory curry consisted of pumpkin, tofu, sliced carrots, potato chunks, green peas and caramelized onions over a bed of brown rice, which has been deemed one of the world’s healthiest foods. I also finished off the complementary mini-loaf of Claire’s signature home-baked bread. Needless to say, my taste buds were happy campers and my stomach was completely, if not overly, full.
So there you have it. Claire’s is definitely a place you should go. Have a smoothie study break with friends. Invite that guy or gal you think is cute to share a meal (trust me, the soft lighting and ambient atmosphere is ideal for date night). And hey, if things get awkward, you can always impress him/her with your knowledge of MUFAs and PUFAs!
Claire’s is the perfect place to go for a light pick-me-up between classes or for a hearty (and healthy!) meal. Tasted, tried and true.
Now for more pressing matters:
Confession #1: I may or may not have had an entire slice of Lithuanian Coffee Cake before I left. To the couple silently judging from behind: you know you were jealous.
Confession #2: I may or may not be in an eternal food coma.
Confession #3: I may or may not request a friend to put me on a leash the next time I go out to review restaurants.
Location: 1000 Chapel Street, New Haven, CT 06510
Hours of Operation: Mon-Thu 8am-9pm, Fri 8am-10pm, Sat 9am-10pm, Sun 9am-9pm