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January 15, 2019

Le Botaniste: Not to Miss!

by Anne Paddock

Le Botaniste in Soho (and also on the Upper East Side) looks like an old-fashioned European apothecary with a black and white checkered floor manned by staff wearing white pharmaceutical jackets. But, instead of rows and rows of “drugs” lined up alphabetically on shelves, the “drugs of choice” – plant food in a rainbow of colored Le Creuset round oven pots and perfectly appointed built in bowls – are front and center behind crystal clear glass.

A plant-based food and wine bar that operates under the mantra attributed to Hippocrates “let food be thy medicine…,” Le Botaniste is an exquisite looking cafe that bills itself as 100% botanical, 99% organic, and gluten-free. It’s also 100% delicious.

Before going to Le Botaniste, familiarize yourself with the menu because it’s best to have an idea of what you want before you get into line (the line starts at the far right side of the menu). Similar to the Chipotle (gasp!) line, visitors choose a “prescription” which can be a “small bowl” ($5-$8) of soup, salad, vegetable sushi, or a mezzo plate, a “large bowl” ($13.95) of various soups, salads, pasta, or assortments, or my personal favorite – a DIY Bowl with a base of quinoa, brown rice, potatoes, gluten-free fusilli, or salad mix. Add one of 12 toppings (i.e. vegetable stew, steamed greens, chili, bolognese, and more) and three garnishes (i.e. seasonal veggies, root vegetables, turmeric onions, kimchi, and more) and then top is off with your choice of dressing or seasonal herbs.

During our most recent visits, we enjoyed the broccoli soup (divine and described by my non-vegan daughter as “the best she ever had”), fusilli bolognese (total comfort food), and a DIY bowl made of potatoes, steamed greens, peas, turmeric onions, a seeded avocado, and seasonal veggies finished with seasonal herbs (no dressing needed).

A nutritional yeast shaker is at the table and is a delicious addition to the bowls.Desserts include an Omega 3 brownie (topped with black sesame seeds – sounds strange but it works), mini key lime pie tarts, quinoa peanut butter cookies, an apple volcano, and an assortment of crumbles and pudding-like desserts for $5-$8.

Le Botaniste has two locations in New York City:  in Soho at 127 Grand Street (between Crosby and Broadway) and the Upper East Side at 833 Lexington Avenue (between East 63rd and East 64th Street, close to Soul Cycle). Open 7 days a week from 11 am – 9 pm (no reservations). To read more about Le Botaniste, go to the company website:  www.lebotaniste.us.

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