Franklin Becker’s midtown Little Beet take away and gluten free lunch spot made its debut downtown in the Gramercy area offering dinner for the first time. The natural wood and casual atmosphere matches the simple and clean food. The dining room feels like a big open kitchen with minimal detail, exposed brick and white pillars. This makes it an easy neighborhood drop in that isn’t too fancy yet isn’t too fast. All of the menu items are gluten free, and the amount of vegetable offerings are like golden jewels to a king. The healthy menu looks appealing to those who aren’t heavy vegetable lovers, but the problem is the prices are too high for an environment like this. Fish entrees over $25 are not meant for an atmosphere like this or really for this neighborhood. While Stephen Starr’s Upland is a few blocks north, that’s a different ball game and people expect prices in this range but also feel a little fancier in its decor.
At Little Beet Table, vegetables splatter the menu with everything you can think of from Roasted Carrots with whipped ricotta, sumac and pistachios, Sunchokes, Mushrooms, Brussels Sprouts, Roasted Sweet Potatoes, etc. They should condense the Vegetable and the Sides section as they are pretty much the same thing and won’t deter people from ordering either if they just call it one thing. Obviously get the Grilled Beets with greek yogurt & pumpkin seed-almond granola. I’ve never seen a vegetable dish with granola, and it is fun and playful. The beets are on par as well. My other favorite vegetables/sides were the Brussels Sprouts which could have used a tad more chili to add spice and the Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Smoked Sea Salt and Olive Oil. The potato portions are huge, and it seems as if they give you about three full sweet potatoes cut in half. They are tender, sweet and have just the right amount of salt. One thing I am satisfied to see is that the chef doesn’t hide or abuse the vegetable’s natural flavors and just barely transforms them with simple ingredients to create positive tastes and nothing too overdone.
Sweet Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts
For entrees, the Slow Cooked Salmon with avocado caponata, pistachio pesto and black olives is perfectly seared but not worth $26. On the other hand, the Arroz Con Pollo, with chicken, rice and moorish spices is cute, unique and stands out amongst other menu items. My advice for ordering is to stick to the sides and vegetable category because that is what the restaurant praises and what I think is done best. Then order a couple bar snacks and the gluten free flatbreads. This way, you won’t overspend and you’ll leave with what you came for.
The Little Beet Table is a place for an easy date or catch up with a group of friends, but not somewhere if you are looking to impress someone or feel trendy or romantic. It’s ideal for pure healthy food and the kind of place to book when you need somewhere substantial to eat.