It’s All About the Lettuce at Local Leaf
Love a good sandwich, but want to avoid the carbs? Lettuce has been a longtime diet substitute for bread and buns, more recently adopted by gluten-free diners as well, for a way to enjoy sandwiches without wheat. Local Leaf and their build your own lettuce wraps aims to turn lettuce into a bonafide lifestyle, by spotlighting roughage at their new, Murray Hill location.
The brainchild of a Tabla and Jean-Georges graduate, a Restaurant Associates alum, a 16 Handles Frozen Yogurt executive, and an award-winning accountant, this unique eatery hews closely to the de rigueur Chipotle style. Which means, consumers are encouraged to construct a meal from a base (swiss chard or lettuce wraps, Bibb lettuce cup platters, chopped leafy green bowls, or green breakfast crepes), filled with a choice of toppings (roasted carrots, edamame, cauliflower couscous, shredded beets), add-ons (avocado, goat cheese, black bean falafel, short rib), sauces (lemon-parsley pesto, ssam dressing, caramelized onion or maple-mustard vinaigrette), and hot grains.
The concept attempts to be ecologically friendly as well as body-conscious, by sourcing produce and proteins from vendors like Hudson Valley Harvest; a cooperative of over 50 farms upstate. In an effort to minimize food waste, they also actively purchase second-tier fruits and veggies (less likely to be sold at the market), which — while arguably less Instagram-ready as their unblemished counterparts — are every bit as tasty and nutritious. And leftover bits and pieces (skin, rinds, pulp, ribs) frequently work their way on the menu too, by way of veggie burgers, salad dressings, infused beverages and juice.
So be sure to stop by the so-called “Hydration Bar,” stocked with green juice smoothies or assorted “mix-your-own” libations — think a muddle of apple, celery and cucumber, spiked with spirulina, local honey and oolong tea.
Oh, what Chipotle hath wrought.
440 3rd Ave