Get back to human. That's what's on the menu at Hu Kitchen, where restaurant-goers can have a taste of their "pre-industrial" healthy food. Zagat editor James Mulcahy filed the following report for NY1.
Recently opened Hu Kitchen reaches back in time for a creative take on healthier options. The restaurant calls it's food pre-industrial, making sure to only serve product that hasn't been chemically processed. Many of the items on sale draw inspiration from the paleo diet, or caveman diet, which relies on foods that hunter-gatherers ate during the paleolithic era.
"One of our inspirations was a guy named Michael Pollan, and a specific book that really inspired my sister the most is called 'In Defense of Food," explains co-owner Jordan Brown, who opened the store with his sister Jessica Karp. "One of his main ideas on eating is don't eat anything that your grandmother couldn't use as an ingredient in her kitchen. We sort of take that to the next level. "We go back 250, 300 years ago and we say 'could this ingredient have existed back then.'"
The store features numerous stations where guests can order a full meal, coffee and drinks or just a snack, making it an accessible option for all times of day.
"People who want to eat cleanly, currently in New York there's no where to do that in a place that's not really a long, sit-down meal," says Karp, explaining why they decided on the fast-casual concept. "We wanted it to be something that people could incorporate into their daily lives."
One unique feature is the mash bar, where guests can combine mix ups of sweet and savory ingredients into healthy snacks that you eat with a spoon. The tasty result is kind of like the health food version of an ice cream sundae.
"My brother used to come home, take some almond butter, take some honey, maybe some bananas, and kind of mush it all together," Karp says. "It kind of became a joke in our family, you know, 'what can we create with these healthy ingredients,' and it's just a delicious way to snack."
Hu's fast casual concept can be easily replicated and if it's successful, you can expect to see more outposts open around town. For now, you can get in touch with your inner caveman on Fifth Avenue near 13th Street.
"Getting back to human - it's sitting down when you eat, its's eating with people you like, in a really nice environment that's not rushing you out," says Brown.
For more information on Hu Kitchen and other new restaurants, visit blog.zagat.com.