Sunday, January 11, 2009

Hardcore GREEN

The food here is expensive. The portions are small. So what's the big deal about this restaurant opened by an Argentinian business man that serves organic Latin-inspired cuisine? I guess there's something to be said about a restaurant that does more than just touting itself as being an "organic" restaurant, especially nowadays when that word is tossed around so much now. Gusto Organics is what we'd called hardcore, all-the-way organic: it's not only New York's first USDA-certified organic restaurant, it's also the nation's first restaurant to use 100% USDA certified organic ingredients, and the first USDA-certified organic bar in this world.

Beyond their food, their restaurant itself is also "healthy" for the environment, which we can respect and appreciate because their use of the world "organic" really encompasses everything they do. They use only wind energy, solar lighting, biodegradeable containers, 100% recycled material, their menus are printed with soy ink, their staff wears uniforms made of organic material, and their restaurant was built with recycled woods. The wood for the rough-hewn tables was recovered from defunct barns.

These leather-encased coconut formation lights were made from "cows that were already dead." That's pretty (un) appetizing but equally unwasteful.

Gusto Organics supports small, local farmers, and even their water is clean (and we're not talking Evian bottled water kind of faux clean). And they also believe in portion control - trying to get Americans accustomed to large sizes of meat and potatoes to eat less and get their waist sizes smaller. Their menu is both interesting and expensive, but items like their delicious Media Luna with ham and mozzarella is a delicious and inexpensive breakfast or lunch option. This croissant-like bread is genius. And for $4, it even comes with salad. Probably the best deal on their menu.

Another healthy and delicious option on a budget is their Pura Vida juice made with strawberries, bananas, orange juice, and agave ice. This is probably the best healthy drink we've had - sweet and soft. A far healthier and tastier option than psychotic health juices like Wheatgrass; we would much rather have a strawberry aftertaste than that of dirt, thank you very much. Being healthy shouldn't have to be scary.

On the flip slide, there's also some crappy things on their menu like their vegetarian corn vomit omelet - expensive and unappetizing.

A combination of hits and misses on their menu but Gusto Organic's determination to get this planet and the people within it healthier is something you can feel good about supporting.