There are plenty of chefs in New York making impressive use of seasonal ingredients, but not many can also claim to know the particular health benefits of each fruit, vegetable, and protein.
Enter John Marsh, chef and managing partner at Greensquare Tavern, who’s also a holistic lifestyle coach. His Flatiron District restaurant features lovingly worn blue-and-white tile floors, exposed brick walls, and tabletop plants in terra cotta pots.
Marsh’s plates convey a similar down-to-earth beauty; our roasted beet salad was a pretty tangle of arugula and frisee tossed in aged apple vinegar, with creamy Grand Reserve goat cheese and sweet cubes of roasted beet playing off the tart dressing and sliced hearts of palm.
We eased into more fresh, seasonal produce next with a surprisingly substantial vegan cannellini and chickpea stew. Marsh adds Swiss chard and kale to the broth—a flavorful base of garlic, shallot, and spring herbs—just before serving to maintain texture and nutritional value. Kale also accompanied a plate of pan-seared Long Island Pekin duck breast with a slightly overpowering herbal red peppercorn glaze and stewed black cherries.
Less intrusive was the nutty, iron-and-zinc-packed red rice served with the duck and with the skin-seared salmon that arrived next. Crisp green beans and subtle tarragon pan sauce cut refreshingly through the fatty sustainably raised Loch Duart salmon.
We paired it with a side of mashed sweet potatoes so vividly colored and, well, sweet, that we assumed agave or sugar must have been added—neither was, we learned, only butter. Dessert seemed gratuitous at that point, but we splurged anyway on Missouri organic pecan pie, made with raw honey instead of sugar for a mellow sweetness.
If Marsh continues serving dishes like these, he’ll have no trouble convincing diners that taste, sustainability, and health need not be mutually exclusive.
5 W. 21st St. (Fifth and Sixth Avenue)
Mon-Fri: 11:30 a.m.–4 p.m., 5 p.m.–12 a.m.,
Sat: 11 a.m.–4 p.m., 5 p.m.–12 a.m.,
Sun: 11 a.m.–4 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.