Add Color to Your Plate With These Local Dishes

Our favorite feel-good restaurants have a shared menu aesthetic: colorful food. It’s no coincidence.

Saffron-scented Moroccan tagine from Rosemary and Vine is a slow-cooked vegetarian stew served over couscous with scallions | Photo by Ken Gabrielsen

Our favorite feel-good restaurants have a shared menu aesthetic: colorful food. It’s no coincidence. The color provides a clue of the particular health benefits contained within (e.g., dark green = vitamins A, D, potassium; red/blue/purple = flavonoids). Whether you’re hungering for something quick and easy or long and luxurious, try one of these favorite Westchester restaurants, where colorful offerings abound.

Fragrant spices flood your senses with pleasure, waking up ho-hum lentils or putting pep in your chicken at Little Spice Bazaar in Mount Kisco. Those spices are healthy, too (Hello, turmeric and ginger!), embodying the slogan of “Loose Spices, Good Character,” created by chef/owner Bonnie Saran, queen of a “Little” empire of eateries in Mount Kisco and Pleasantville. Poured into Mason jars, her detoxifying juices, like the Power to Do More, look like rainbows, while smoothies and milkshakes are pastel pictures of drinkable deliciousness. For something chewable, try Indian street snacks, like a crunchy, saucy chaat or a mukhwas, a multicolored after-meal snack that freshens breath while aiding digestion. Of course, let’s not forget the lassis, using yogurt made in-house, like the fragrant rose flavor. While there, shop for vivid Indian spices, and you’ll be in good company. Area celebs Martha Stewart, Bill Clinton, Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Chevy Chase, and Ben Stiller are all big fans.

Color is also plentiful at Rosemary and Vine, Tania Rahal and Berj Yeretzian’s intimate Mediterranean restaurant in Rye, which serves organic vegetarian food, local craft beers, and small-batch wines. The cauliflower and sweet-pea salad with tzatziki, showcasing several shades of green from asparagus, pistachios, and herby charmoula dressing, looks as healthy as it is delicious. Then, there’s the truffled garden fettuccine with radicchio, peas, and fresh basil. The flatbreads are made in-house, with organic flour. Our favorite is the Ella, topped with whipped ricotta (substitute nut-based cheese, if you please), caramelized onions, toasted pine nuts, and a pop of color from baby arugula. The chocolate-tahini cake with raspberry coulis, halva crumble and sesame seeds uses 70% dark Valrhona chocolate, so with all those antioxidants, it’s almost a health food as far as desserts go, anyhow.

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You can be sure the food at Sweet Grass Grill in Tarrytown is as local, seasonal, and sustainably raised as possible (they were doing it even before it became a trend).  They list the weekly harvests from area farms, and the menu labels dishes as  vegan, vegan-possible, contains nuts, or gluten-free; so a Paleo palate, vegan eater, and full-fledged omnivore can share a table. Sure, there’s wine-infused tempeh and jackfruit “carnitas” tacos, but they’re not afraid to heat some serious meat either. The organic roast chicken comes with a colorful confetti of radishes, tomatoes, watercress, and pepitas, while the grass-fed skirt steak gets a punch of green from asparagus and tarragon aioli.

The clean, bright white space at Organic Pharmer pops with richly hued food. True to its food-as-medicine name, the grab-and-go eatery for organic, plant-focused foods, juice, and smoothies helps your body be its best self in a delicious, convenient way. Pre-yoga or post-spin class, grab chickpea fusilli with kale pesto, a ruby-colored Defense+ protein shake, or savory salmon tartine. The menu is crafted by chef couple Lee and Darleen Gross, formerly the private chefs of actress-turned-Goop-guru Gwyneth Paltrow. “[We] start with the most colorful, fresh, seasonally available produce and process it as minimally as possible, to coax the maximum flavor and satisfaction from them,” Chef Darleen Gross says.


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