The New Takeout
Say goodbye to greasy noodles and subs: This carry-out is lean, clean and unbelievably good.
Remember when a “healthy” takeaway dinner meant a suspect subway sandwich or sashimi for one? The cooking-averse can celebrate now that a bunch of healthful (and stylish) take-out joints have popped up from Santa Monica to New York. In reinventing the quick-eating experience, these places are begging the question we’ve asked for a while: Why shouldn’t carry-out be good for you, too?
Ellary’s Greens, NYC
Gluten-free diners and the lactose-averse can live large at this cool, airy, David Rockwell-designed café on a sweet street in New York City's West Village. Tofu scrambles, gluten-free chicken-salad wraps, and inventive juices and smoothies make it an obvious pre-picnic spot, while dinner offerings include Cajun shrimp and lemony grilled salmon. It's on Seamless, too.
Most ordered to-go dish: Crispy roasted organic chicken breast with fresh herbs.
Dr J’s Vibrant Kitchen LA
Here’s what’s not available at Downtown LA’s weathered-wood-fronted vegan café: sugar, dairy, wheat, yeast, alcohol, caffeine and chemicals. And here’s what is: local peas, potatoes, onions, carrots and the like, which are baked, grilled or sauteed with piquant spices and shape-shifting tofu to simple, tasty effect. If you’re in downtown LA, you can have it delivered.
Most ordered to-go dish: The “mother earth” bowl filled with brown rice, green beans, radish, zucchini, onions, broccoli, tofu, kale and bell pepper, with tahini sauce on the side.
This Allston neighborhood’s menu isn’t entirely kale-infused and wheat-free. In fact, brunch dishes like biscuits and gravy would shock with their sheer glutinousness if a pure-and-good aura didn't pervade: The gravy is made with mushrooms, the biscuits are vegan, and of course there are overtly healthy offerings like quinoa burgers and a maple-harvest salad with arugula, raisins, walnuts and green apple.
Most ordered to-go dish: Black-bean-and-quinoa burger with lettuce, tomato, crispy onions and garlic aioli.
The Butcher’s Daughter, NYC
This Lower East Side café-restaurant attracts fashion types with all-vegetarian dishes from Portabello burgers to zucchini noodles with pesto and cashew “ricotta." We like the latter so much that we'll excuse these two drawbacks: Juices (made with the likes of beets, lavender and rosemary) sometimes sell out before dinner, and until November you’ll have to order takeout in person.
Most ordered to-go dish: Kale salad with sunflower seed tahini, avocado and green apples and toasted sunflower seeds.
True Food Kitchen, Santa Monica
The brainchild of holistic health guru Dr. Andrew Weil, True Food's goal is reducing inflammation to prevent chronic diseases and general maladies. Thus, you won’t find doughy focaccia or thick steak cuts on the menu—but instead colorful bouquets of crudité plus spaghetti squash casseroles, spicy shiritake noodles and flavorsome grilled trout. The mini-chain’s six locations are scattered throughout Arizona, Southern California and Colorado.
Most ordered to-go dish: Gluten-free turkey lasagna with spinach, ricotta and organic tomato.