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The phrase “farm-to-table” has become a favorite of many New York restaurants, so much so that you might understandably be skeptical of its authenticity.
The Fat Radish, however, is the real deal. British chef-owner Ben Towill is as adept at coaxing bold flavors from humble vegetables as he is fastidious about where he sources from places like Brooklyn’s Pierless Fish and Garden of Spices poultry farm in upstate New York.
A plate of heirloom carrots arrived integrity-intact, satisfyingly firm beside a tussle of crispy and sautéed kale, with bits of hijiki seaweed emitting miso-scented steam.
The Market Salad of seven different greens was a study in freshness, a marriage of buttery and bitter flavors enhanced with subtle lemon vinaigrette and ricotta salata.
Towill and fellow Brit co-owner Phil Winser also lead a sustainable catering and lifestyle company called Silkstone, which designed the interior of the East Village eatery a space so soothing in its industrial-meets-organic aesthetic that it borders on precious.
The menu’s pungent originality nicely balances all the worn wood and weathered white brick, lit by candles and scented with potted herbs. Red cabbage slaw had kick and bite, a spicy counterpoint to sweet rutabaga smash and a juicy Heritage Farm pork chop.
Likewise, pan-seared striped bass arrived perfectly cooked and snowy white beside sweet roasted radishes and turnips, sliced thinly and glazed with miso. Rarely does minimalism convey such depth proteins betray no seasoning but taste and feel satisfying, especially when sprinkled with sea salt from the little bowls atop each table.
Duck rillette terrine, made in-house, was gently gamey, and as appealing solo as it was atop toast slathered with grainy mustard and mellow onion jam.
Ingredients like these, capable of standing alone as well as they combine, are precisely why the farm-to-table movement perpetuates.
The Fat Radish
17 Orchard St. (Hester St. & Canal St.)
Monday–Friday: 12 p.m.–3:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.–12 a.m.
Saturday: 11 a.m.–3:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.–12 a.m.
Sunday: 11 a.m.–3:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.–10 p.m.
Best practices/nutrition: Ashley Spivak
Food critic: Sarah Amandolare
Clean Plates reviews are the only restaurant reviews that combine the expertise of a nutritional consultant and a food writer/critic. In addition to each restaurant being visited, Clean Plates employs a rigorous multistep assessment process including thorough research into ingredient sourcing; quality of cooking oils; preparation techniques; eco-friendly, sustainable practices; and ability to accommodate specific dietary needs.
Visit www.cleanplates.com to get healthy, clean eating tips and recipes—plus, dish with the chefs and pioneers leading the sustainable charge to a table near you.