Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Green Table Food Review - Chelsea Market, New York

The Green Table
(click photo for a larger version)

The Green Table is a little eatery located in the heart of Chelsea Market and is devoted to serving organic foods and beverages. The menu boasts some of the freshest ingredients delivered from local farms and green markets. Some of the most popular dishes ordered here include the Pot Pies (Chicken, Beef, and Vegetarian), Macaroni and Cheese and the Green Table Burger. I will be reviewing two of the three, and perhaps make another visit to taste the last. The eatery seats about 20 people, with a mini-bar seating area in the front and an additional seating area outside.

If you're curious about the decor and the atmosphere, I can easily say that once you walk-in, you will feel the hustle and bustle of New York and Chelsea Market slowing down by a few notches. I immediately felt calm here as I was surrounded by green farmhouse windows, rustic looking tables and the serenity of the restaurant environment. The friendly wait staff also added to comfort of this cafe -- and after the meal that I had, I wished they had pull-up beds that allowed me to take a nap. :D

Here are my food reviews, with color coded items -- GREEN (I enjoyed it) or RED (I would pass on it)

Macaroni and Cheese ($9 side; $15 entree w/ fresh greens)
Coach Farm Goat Cheese, Neighborly Farms organic Colby & Cheddar, Parmesean & Hudson Valley Milk combined with Organic pasta and topped with herbed breadcrumbs

After growing up on Kraft's Mac N' Cheese (which I still love), its difficult to fathom how tasty homemade "real" mac n' cheese really is. And though this wasn't my absolute favorite mac n' cheese that I ever tasted (Cafeteria has my favorite mac n' cheese), this was still pretty darn good! Its not over-the-top cheesy or gooey, just the perfect cheese and the perfect mini-crunch with the herbed breadcrumbs.

Side note: I would recommend ordering this as a side dish because there's no sense paying $6 for the mini-salad (no matter how great tasting it is).

Classic Chicken Pot Pie ($15)
Free-range chicken and an assortment of organic vegetables topped with a flaky pate brisee crust, served with market greens

Ok, I grew up eating Swanson's Chicken Pot Pie (gosh, are you wondering where all the home-cooking was when I was growing up?!?! Non-existent since my parents were working 24/7 at our noodle shop, but that's another story) -- and again, its amazing tasting the real thing. The real thing has less lard, which I'm sure is slightly healthier than those Swanson's frozen pies. :D Inside the classic chicken pot pie was a good blend of vegetables, hearty combination of white and dark meat and the consistency within the pie was thick and not soupy. I have to admit I added some salt and pepper to my liking, but overall, it was a great fresh potpie -- and how can you not love the "chicken" branding on the top of the crust?

Roasted Chicken Breast ($18)
Roasted Amish Country Red Cockerel with Tuscan Kale, cheesy potatoes & thyme jus

Personally, I thought the chicken was a bit chewy and not tender as I would have expected it to be -- but afterall, it was chicken breast (white meat) and not chicken leg (dark meat). The potatoes had a consistency of grits and was quite tasty; initially I thought the kale would be bitter, but it wasn't and I'm not sure how I can describe its distinct taste but I enjoyed it. (btw, did you know KALE is a highly nutrious vegetable with powerful antioxidant properties and is considered to be an anti-inflammatory? yes!) Sad to say, but the only good thing I can say about this dish is that the potatoes and the kale made this dish, rather than the chicken.

Housemade Sauerkraut with Dickson's Pork Belly ($6)
With the craze of pork belly in a lot of new creative dishes around Manhattan, I'm not surprised that a pork belly dish would appear here. Though, I'm not sure if I would have paired these two together because the pork belly truly lost its flavor in this dish as it was over-powered by the tangy-ness of the sauerkraut (no, there was no balance of the two ingredients). So, I will definitely pass on this dish. But before you walk-away disappointed -- I will openly admit, I'm not a big fan of sauerkraut (even though I do put it on an occasional hot dog), this sauerkraut was just overly-tangy for my tastebuds!

Roasted Butternut Squash w/ aleppo pepper and olive oil ($4)

A simple, yet delicious dish that when roasted gives you more of the sweetness from the butternut squash. Did you know that butternut squash is a type of winter squash and is considered a FRUIT? Yup.

Overall, it was an enjoyable experience sitting and eating at one of the green tables inside this organic eatery in Chelsea Market. Its a great spot for lunch, brunch and dinner; or if you're on the run, they do take-out too!

Location: Chelsea Market, 75 Ninth Avenue, NY, NY 10011, 212.741.9174, Open Mon thru Saturday 12 to 10 pm ; Sunday 11 am to 5 pm (across the way the water fall and Amy's Bread)

Did you know? The Green Table originated from a catering company, The Cleaver Co., which has been around for more than 30 years! Mary Cleaver believed that the best foods are grown, tended and harvested within a day's drive of your table. Her catering company has produced meals for the Dalai Lama and Martin Scorcese, large-scale parties for Microsoft and even for Harvard's Center for Health and the Global Environment.

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