October 1, 2022

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Life Must Change

A pastel palate on a Manhattan Seaside menu

There’s a joke about Mexican meals that it’s a delicacies of 100s of dishes constituted of 10 substances. Mexicans have certainly discovered methods to deliver an arsenal of strategies to a considerably restricted variety of meals staples, and create range of flavors, and textures that make it one of many world’s nice cuisines.

That’s one thing that cooks in a lot of the world have achieved, some by necessity as a result of it’s all they’d, others out of wise financial system. Restaurant cooks who’ve restricted cupboard space, and a watch on the underside line consider carefully earlier than including a brand new ingredient to the menu. If it’s a perishable merchandise utilized in just one dish, and might be wasted if no one orders it, it is going to be much less prone to make the lower than one which can be utilized in a number of preparations.

The not too long ago opened Well being Nut took over the previous Jamba Juice location in downtown Manhattan Seaside. Picture by Kevin Cody

Well being Nut is a small chain of eating places serving precisely what you’d count on from the identify – calorie and nutrition-conscious salads, sandwiches, and noodle bowls. Although they opened within the former Jamba Juice location, they don’t make smoothies, however do have just a few easy drinks like lemonade, and fruit tea. The menu has a reasonably lengthy listing of things, however after I checked out it intently, I seen it’s the economical chef’s dream, with lots of the identical substances utilized in each dish.

That’s a plus with any such restaurant as a result of when every part on the menu focuses on the flavors of recent greens, there’s the potential for lots of wastage as a result of brief shelf life. On the identical time, the individuals who design these recipes must be fairly ingenious to maintain every part from tasting alike. It’s a balancing act, and although they do some issues very effectively right here, they don’t all the time hit the mark.

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On our first go to we ordered the spring roll, and the Well being Nut noodle soup, which one of many counter employees assured me was one of the crucial standard dishes. It’s excellent, with a fragile ginger taste that provides curiosity to the gentle vegetarian herb inventory. Diners get their selection of tuna, hen or tofu as a protein, and the soup is served with noodles on the aspect that you simply add to style. Neither noodles, tofu, or skinless hen breast add lots of taste, however they do lend some completely different textures. About the one factor I might change is the very giant chunks of potato, which ought to have been lower smaller to make spooning them up simpler.

The spring roll and noodle soup at Well being Nut. Picture by Richard Foss.

The spring roll is a salad of carrots, cucumbers, and bean and alfalfa sprouts stuffed right into a barely chewy rice flour wrap, and lower into eight items. It’s a riff on the Vietnamese traditional, which is usually known as a summer time roll to tell apart it from a fried roll. The standard model often consists of basil, cilantro, mint, or different sharply flavored herbs, plus a touch of tangy fish sauce or vinegar. Well being Nut’s model is an undressed salad in a flavorless wrap till you add the protein and a few of their spicy Asian dressing. I have to say it’s a great dressing with sesame oil and a peppery kick. You get your selection of protein, and I picked the salmon poke, which has a light marinade enlivened with sesame seeds. I want they hadn’t lower up the roll as a result of whereas the preparation is fairly, it’s not simple to eat neatly as a result of it falls aside after the primary chunk. Nonetheless, should you like pure flavors subtly enhanced, this can be a good entrée, and the portion is beneficiant.

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We appreciated it sufficient to return, and when deciding what to order seen the constraints of the menu. Many of the objects listed below are the identical few substances mixed with very slight variations – sprouts, carrots, and cucumber are in just about each merchandise. We tried a Chinese language hen salad, turkey-avocado soften, and a tuna salad panini to get as broad a variety as potential.

The Chinese language hen salad is lettuce, carrots, dry chow mein noodles, pickled ginger, and sesame dressing. Pickled ginger isn’t a part of the same old recipe, however it’s foolish to be a purist about one thing invented in a Beverly Hills restaurant within the Nineteen Sixties. The standard model additionally typically has almonds or peanuts and cabbage, which add texture and complexity of taste. The pickled ginger was a good suggestion and added some zip to the flavors, and the sesame dressing was excellent, however I desire the normal model.

Each sandwiches had been disappointments, for various causes. The turkey-avocado soften was oddly salty, the tuna salad the dullest I can keep in mind having. Tuna salad may be scrumptious when effectively made, however all you style right here is tuna and mayonnaise. There are all types of issues that may make tuna salad pleasant – a little bit of chopped celery or onion, candy pickle relish, dill, and entire grain mustard come to thoughts. They had been all missing right here, and sorely missed.

On the suggestion of a employees member, I additionally tried a “mango greentini,” iced inexperienced tea with mango juice, honey, and sugar. Approach an excessive amount of sugar, for my part, as a result of mango is nice all by itself, and only a sprint of honey would have been a lot.

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There’s a constant aesthetic behind the meals at Well being Nut, centered on the pure flavors of recent substances with minimal spicing and variation. These recent substances are at a worth – the lunch I first described of soup, spring rolls, and two lemonades ran $42, which is excessive for counter service of straightforward meals. Wholesome meals may be thrilling and assorted, however whereas the meals right here is healthful, it falls brief on these measures. I’d return for his or her soup, as a result of it’s the very best expression of what they do, however will most likely give the remainder of their choices a move.

Well being Nut is at 332 Manhattan Seaside Boulevard in Manhattan Seaside. Mon. — Sat. 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. Road parking. Wheelchair entry OK. No alcohol, small patio and some indoor tables. (310) 943-1060. Healthnutla.com. ER