When you think of eating healthfully, the image that pops up in your mind is probably something along the lines of one lonely Brussels sprout sitting on a plate with a side of green juice (or something similarly strange and unsatisfying). The last thing that comes to your mind is probably white wine sangria smoothies, chocolate macaroons and flavorful veggie burgers the size of your face. If the latter sounds too good to be true, I have some good news for you. It’s not. It’s good and it’s true.
The Organic Grill, a bright, homey gem in the east village serving locally sourced organic, vegan and vegetarian food, offers diners all three of those unusually fun dishes along with an abundance of other unique, yet healthy options. For the skeptics out there like myself: yes, healthy can be fun and fulfilling.
“We try to mix it up and pick out good aspects from every culture,” owner Julia Chebotar explained of the menu. “We cater to vegans, pescetarians, vegetarians, gluten-free – you name it.”
Chebotar, who took over the business at the mere age of 20, has been running the family-owned grill for five years after her stepfather opened it in 2001. The restaurant’s menu was designed to honor his mother who suffered from lymphoma and went on a macrobiotic, vegan diet to help herself fight the disease. Since then, the whole family switched to a vegan and organic diet and has decided to help others do the same.
On the dinner menu are staple dishes such as the Green Machine burger, the Naked burger and kale salad along with new courses such as the customizable BYO burger and a spin-off grilled cheese, the Green Melt.
The new BYO burger option gives customers the liberty to design their own sandwiches with a selection of toppings, buns, burgers and spreads. The Green Machine burger is a filling, topping-embellished Portobello burger. At the other end of the spectrum, the Naked burger is the lightest option with no bun but loads of flavor.
Not craving a veggie burger? The Green Melt made with dairy or vegan cheese, avocado, spinach, fresh basil pesto and a surprisingly flavorful and convincing tempeh bacon is a fulfilling and tasty sandwich. One thing to remember: don’t discount tempeh bacon. It’s surprisingly smoky with an uncanny meat-like consistency.
If you’re in the mood for breakfast (regardless of the time of day), indulge in a fluffy tofu omelette, super seed waffles or huevos rancheros. Or if you actually want breakfast in the morning, come in for brunch before 4 p.m on Saturdays and Sundays.
But no meal is complete without a drink to wash it down; The Organic Grill has an extensive drink menu including everything from the Superfood slush with strawberry, raspberry, blackberry and acai to an array of customizable smoothies with a variety of supplements such as bee pollen, ginkgo leaf, mangosteen and more. If you’re an adventurous alcoholic, try a white or red wine sangria smoothie and the beer or sangria popsicles (or all of them at once).
Last but not least, the desserts are all vegan and can be eaten in house or picked up at the counter to go. While there is a pretty killer selection of beautiful cakes, the raw macaroons make for the perfect snack or after dinner dessert. These soft, raw macaroons come in blonde coconut, raw fig & date and chocolate lavender.
If all of these foods tickle your fancy, stop by whenever or come in weekdays from 12 p.m. – 5 p.m. for the newly implemented NYU lunch special: 1/2 wrap or 1/2 sandwich with soup, salad, or home fries along with a coffee, tea, or fresh juice. There will also be a special “Thanksgivukkah” menu for anyone who is stuck in Manhattan and can’t make it home for Thanksgiving.
Bottom line: The Organic Grill is a guilt-free, gluten free hub featuring unmatchable organic dishes and killer sangria popsicles.
Side note: they are currently hiring, so if you need a job (which most of us do because we go to NYU) stop by and drop off your resume.
123 1st Ave (between 7 St. & St.Marks Place)
Hours of Operation: Mon-Thur: noon-10 p.m., Fri: noon-10 p.m., Sat: 10 a.m.-11 p.m., Sun 10 a.m.-10p.m.