- scene: Hip downtowners in a sunny, guilt- free environment
- sip: The Two Hungry Blondes cocktail, obviously!
- savor: Kale; octopus; chicken breast ( I know, I don't believe what I am saying either)
- sit: With girlfriends; this is the idea spot for a ladies brunch or dinner, workout plans optional
- spend: $$$
- address: 10 Downing Street (at Sixth Avenue)
- phone number: (212) 675-4350
- website: www.cafeclovernyc.com
Remember when going to the newest David Rabin hotspot meant you were in for a long night of VIP partying that would inevitably lead to a long day of bacon and egg cheese sandwiches and soul searching? Gaining access is still a struggle for those not in the know, but you are more likely to spend your time at Cafe Clover discussing Barry’s Bootcamp rather than bottle service. This bright, airy restaurant in a formerly doomed space on Downing Street and Sixth Avenue is the perfect place for a girls night out, in a new, health-conscious way.
Oh, there are cocktails, but even these are made with a nod to health. Over ten years ago someone at Pure Wine and Food had me try a Master Cleanse Martini, with vodka (organic or not I don’t remember), lemon juice, water, maple syrup and cayenne on the rim- I thought it was the weirdest thing I had ever heard of. But in this Bethenney Frankelized day and age of skinny girl drinking, the drinks at Cafe Clover could double as spa treatments, but they are fresh and delicious. And how hungover can you get when your drink has echinacea in it? Drinks that are good for you? Sign me up!
All of the food is conservatively portioned, so I recommend getting a bunch of starters to share and then your own entree. Everything we had was seasoned well and tasty, deceptively healthy even for a person like me. I particularly liked the kale salad and the sweet potatoes, but found the crudo to be lacking. My chicken was essentially a paillard, with beautiful, bright vegetables and pedigreed chicken. I felt no guilt eating at Cafe Clover, and it is a perfect spot to take any of your friends with any eating restrictions- gluten- free, meat-free, etc etc. At Cafe Clover, life is like a box of chocolates; they offer a box of assorted dark chocolates that is a perfect way to end the meal.
Some of our party was a little taken aback about how the bill added up, but I guess all of this local, massaged, pampered freshness is expensive. On it’s own the dishes don’t seem pricey, but the quantity needed for a fun sharing meal is what gets you; unless you are a lady who lunches lightly. It is sort of amusing to me that this healthy, naturally inspired restaurant has that lurking nightlife origin, but what the kale are you going to do? Although ostensibly some tables are held for walk-ins, reservations should be made, and right now they should be made in advance.