Counter, which specializes in local, organic and sustainable cuisine. Just minutes from the Sunday Tompkins Square greenmarket and other area farmers' markets throughout the week, the menu lets the ingredients speak for themselves.
It could be said that seasonal, fresh food gave roots to the restaurant: owner and chef Deborah Gavito started the all-natural bakery business Body & Soul - a market and customer favorite - and eventually led her to found Counter.
Counter boasts an extensive list of delectable options for omnivores, vegetarians and vegans alike without sacrificing flavor. For brunch, I had the East Side Burger - probably the best veggie burger I've ever had: Mushroom pâté, housemade seitan, fresh herbs, homemade pickles and pickled onions and steak fries.
The prices are incredibly reasonable and reflect the true cost of the ingredients, including free-range, farm fresh eggs from the Hudson Valley and local dairy products produced without animal rennet. Eating out should be special, so why not make it memorable and embrace the deliciousness of the region's foodshed.
Go to Counter (especially this time of year when it has a true bistro feel with the doors open to the street, lined by beautiful flower and herb planters; it's hip and comfortable without being scary or pretentious). You won't regret it.
(Side note: Check out the restaurant's site; it includes different daily/seasonal menus and what's on tap on the biodynamic, organic wine bar. Also, the desserts look incredible. Next time...)
**COUNTER: 105 First Avenue (between 6th and 7th streets) in New York City's East Village