As we leave the holiday gorgefest and dive into dieting season (ugh) it's nice to remember that healthy eating doesn't have to be bland and boring, especially if a Top Chef: Masters alum has anything to say about it. Chef Franklin Becker, who competed on the cooking show and also made his mark at restaurants around NYC, opened up healthy fast casual restaurant The Little Beet in Midtown this month, offering flavorful and diet-friendly meals that won't make you feel like an underfed rabbit. Ingredients are unprocessed and non-GMO to boot; meats and dairy are humanely cared for before they're turned into your meal.
Given the location, lunch will be the big seller here, with a variety of sandwiches, salads and sides that can be customized to your appetite and tastes. The selection will change frequently, but starting sandwiches ($9.50) include a B.L.A.T. with bacon, leeks, avocado and tomato; and a Grilled Portobello with avocado, tomato and romaine. Greenery includes salads ($7) like the namesake Little Beet with beets two ways, arugula, goat cheese and a sherry-shallot vinaigrette and a unique "Sushi" Salad with brown rice, radish, cucumber, toasted seaweed, avocado and ginger-miso dressing.
Mix-and-match options make for more custom meals. Proteins like skirt steak and tofu can be added to any salad or any of the sides ($4.50), which include grains like quinoa and buckwheat and veggies like broccoli and kale prepared with spices, herbs and other flavorful mix-ins. Early risers have breakfast options like Egg Whites & Kale in a brown rice wrap ($7) and a Bacon/Ham, Egg & Cheese on a whole grain English muffin ($6.50).
The design of the eatery reflects the philosophy of the food, with lots of beautiful green plants adorning the walls and lots of natural wood surfaces; design company ICRAVE also channeled the restaurant's vegetable namesake with pops of burgundy. If you don't have a long lunch break, meals can be taken to go for consumption off-site; they're also doing cold-pressed juices for sipping on the run.
135 West 50th between 6th and 7th Avenues, (212) 459-2338; thelittlebeet.com