By The Restaurant Dieter

Tag: farm-to-table

New York review: Spring Natural Kitchen has a healthy and diverse menu for all

The Restaurant Dieter is in New York, entertaining his niece over the New Year holiday.

We avoided the insanity of Times Square and went to dinner near our place on the Upper West Side. We went to Spring Natural Kitchen on Columbus.

It is rapidly becoming my go-to place in the neighborhood. The menu is so diverse that a healthy eater and Weight Watchers member can find satisfaction, as can a companion who could care less.

I had steamed edamame and a wonderful salad nicoise. The whole meal was satisfying and protein packed at 10 Weight Watcher points,

The fact that the dessert menu included a bowl of fresh fruit — served with or without a scoop of sorbet — made it the perfect meal with which to start the new year.

Happy New Year Spring Natural Kitchen. I’ll be seeing you.

Salad Nicoise
A bowl of fresh fruit for dessert

New York review: The Four Seasons caters well to dieters

Without asking, the waiter brought this…

 Instead of this…

When The Restaurant Dieter started on Weight Watchers, he threatened to have some little calling cards made. He would hand them to the server at the beginning of every restaurant meal. They would say:

“Hello. Nice to meet you. I’m happy to be here. After a lifetime of fighting my weight, I recently joined Weight Watchers. I’m excited and having some success. However, restaurant meals remain a challenge. You can help me, and if you do, you’ll be handsomely rewarded.

“So here’s what I need: Please don’t give me a pained expression when I ask for something special. Please don’t pretend I’m speaking Urdu and that you don’t understand. If I ask a question about how something is prepared and you don’t know, volunteer to go to the kitchen and ask. If you’re unsure, don’t guess. If I ask for something with the sauce on the side, check that it is before you bring the dish out. This is the most challenging thing I’ve ever done. I thank you in advance for your kind attention.”

Fellow dieters, I know: It’s a fantasy.

Yet at The Four Seasons Restaurant recently, that fantasy came true without a card to hand out.

The Four Seasons is the kind of restaurant that draws celebrities and Manhattan power couples. Was that elderly woman seated in the airy Pool Room across from us a celebrity? Or was that finely sculpted face reminiscent of Joan Rivers the work of the same plastic surgeon? It can be difficult to tell.

For the serving staff, it probably pays to assume everybody there is famous and to act accordinly. Perhaps that’s why our server was so attentive. Asked about what was good on the menu for somebody watching consumption of fats and oils, he merely asked, in perfectly accented French: What would you prefer?

The kitchen could and would adapt any of the ingredients on the menu to come up with something that would work. When I suggested a dish that had lentils, he demurred. No, they were soaked in rich ingredients and simply wouldn’t do.

It was almost vexing to have such freedom to choose. In that way, it’s also damn clever. If something came out that wasn’t to your liking…well, it is exactly as ordered.

He did endorse the selection of a king crab, apple and mache salad. It arrived looking fresh and clean. A giant lump of crab meat sat atop a spicy dressing, with mache and Granny Smith apple matchsticks to add a tart punch. I counted it as 5 Weight Watchers points — 3 for 6 ounces of lump crab meat and 2 for 2 tablespoons of Italian-type salad dressing.

King crab, mache and apple salad

For the main, I ordered the filet mignon. The menu indicated it came with cauliflower and caperberries, which our server said were laden with fat. He consented to bring the caperberry sauce on the side and said the kitchen would simply steam the cauliflower. All good.

With late night theater tickets, The Restaurant Dieter and his husband opted out of dessert, so what followed next was the meal’s highlight.

Before the check, the server brought the kitchen’s standard petit fours — tiny cookies and sweets, in this case — for The Restaurant Dieter’s spouse. For me, he brought a cup of exquisitely fresh blueberries, strawberries and raspberries.

Never did I have to whip out my fantasy calling card.