Dirt Does Affordable Organic Cuisine Without Sacrificing Flavor
Dirt's winter plate.
Photo by Valeria Nekhim Lease
Many health-driven restaurants omit meat from their menus, but Dirt is all about
Indeed, Dirt has four menus: vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, and Paleo. But for director of operations and chef Nicole Votano, accommodating myriad dietary restrictions is relatively simple because most dishes are built around vegetables. Furthermore, a bulk of menu items allow the consumer to choose their protein from a list that includes quinoa crusted day-boat fish, free-range orange basil chicken, cage-free
"Our emphasis is on where the food comes from and we do local as much as possible, but while at a lot of healthy places the health comes first and the taste comes after, we're
She's right: Dirt's mission to serve clean, affordable food doesn't stand in the way of flavor. For instance, the seasonal plate ($16) — featuring a root vegetable mash, spicy grilled kale, shaved carrots, pomegranate, and, on a recent day, orange basil chicken — is bright, light, and surprisingly hearty. If you didn't just go up to the counter and order it, you'd think you were eating at a fine-dining establishment.
That's because Chef Votano is a classically trained toque who attended New York City's French Culinary Institute. Her previous position was the top chef at
Speaking of her new role, Votano says it's not as drastic a change as people assume because the core of what she does is still sourcing local ingredients and building relationships with farmers. However, at
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