Bitter and beautiful: Eat yer greens


The fish soup with pickled mustard greens at Gingko is a healthy choice. Photo: John Robinson The fish soup with pickled mustard greens at Gingko is a healthy choice. Photo: John Robinson

You can almost feel yourself getting healthier with every bite of the dark, leafy greens that flourish come fall. Nevermind if they’re braised with ham hocks, drenched in cream, or studded with bacon. From collards to bok choy and all the shades in between, these restaurant dishes make it a downright pleasure to eat your greens. Popeye never had it so good.

The pho at Moto Pho Co. warms you from the inside out (you’re in charge of the sriracha sauce) and the chay or vegetarian pho is packed with noodles, mushrooms, tofu, and baby bok choy with plenty of bite.

Double up on health at Ginkgo, the new Sichuan restaurant on the Corner, with the fish soup with pickled mustard greens. Actually, the pickled part makes it three times as healthy (though no less delicious).

At l’etoile, raw kale stars with toasted pine nuts, dried cranberries, pecorino romano, and an emulsified champagne-lemon dressing in a scrumptious salad that hits every taste bud and presses every yummy button you have.

Ace Biscuit & Barbecue serves up some killer Southern comfort, so it’s not surprising that pitmaster Brian Ashworth has aced his collards too. Try ’em piled up next to a pulled pork sammy and some mac-n-cheese.

The beets’ greens don’t go to waste at MAS Tapas where they join green chard in the acelgas—a light sauté with sherry, garlic, and olive oil that’s finished with a sprinkle of cow’s milk Mahon.

No doubt you go to Downtown Grille for steak, potatoes, and red wine, but don’t forget the creamed spinach that’ll add some color to your meal’s otherwise brown and red palette.

Double H Farms’ thick-cut pork chop deserves a spectacular partner on the plate and at The Ivy Inn, it gets to rest on a savory skillet cake of wilted greens (mustard, tat soi, kale, spinach, and collards) and sweet potatoes that cooks on a bacon fat-slicked griddle.

How to go green
Having clean, dry greens in the fridge ready to go is the best way to ensure that you’ll eat them up. Here’s how to prep your precious greens once you’ve brought them home.
1. Wash and dry your greens (if you have a salad spinner, now’s a great time to use it).
2. Line a plastic bag or tupperware container with paper towels and gently place the greens inside.
3. Remove any excess air from the bag as you close it, or, if using tupperware, place a piece of paper towel on top, close with a lid, and store in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Juice it up
If you want to get your greens in early and then coast the rest of the day on brown food, try juicing your favorite leaves. Here’s a combo so good that you’ll chug it down and then bounce out the door with a vitamin-induced pep in your step. Just toss the ingredients in a blender until drinkable.

1 cup of greens (kale, spinach, or chard); 4 stalks of celery; 1 ½ pears, cut into large pieces; 1″ piece of ginger, peeled; Segments from half a lemon

All hail kale
At the moment, kale’s as overexposed as Kim Kardashian, but the reality starlet doesn’t hold a candle to the superstar crucifer. With more iron than beef, more calcium than milk, nearly 100 percent of our daily recommended Vitamin C intake, and two types of cancer-crushing antioxidants, kale is one badass superfood.