We admit we don’t always grab for grilled tofu over beer-braised pork belly. It’s not always easy to parse a menu for what’s just good and what’s good for us, and many of us eat out for almost every meal, making it more important. That’s why city nutritionist Jared Koch teamed up with some local food writers to scour the city in search of worthy grub. The second installment of what became of this search is available in a pocket-sized guidebook called Clean Plates ($14.95), which is available at all major bookstores or at cleanplates.com. Behind reviews of more than 100 Manhattan restaurants, the book is mindful of the diet needs of every New Yorker: be they vegetarian, carnivore, flexitarian, vegan or gluten-free. Budget needs, too: Listings include little shops and fast-food places too, just none that leave too greasy a napkin behind. Even Deepak Chopra gives props to the guide, saying it may even “transform your individual health and our collective well-being.”
You might want to head to their website now, in fact, if you’re looking for a spot to reserve a Clean Plates-approved meal for the 14th. (You know, that calendar date looming next Monday with a heart around it?) They’ve put out a list for V-Day, and vegetarians are advised to book it for such places as Counter for a dish of pomegranate-chili glazed seitan with crispy saffron risotto and braised artichokes, while the carnivore dating the vegetarian would be happy at Emporio with grass-fed bison carpaccio and free-range Hudson Valley duck, while their table-mate handles a hamachi crudo and butternut squash tortellini before sharing a flourless chocolate spice cake. This carnivore would have to agree. She did help Clean Plates draft the list, after all.