It's official: California food culture is taking root in New York City. You can barely drive a mile in L.A. without passing a new acai bowl hotspot, spelt pancake stall, or nut milk mecca. The thing all of these places have in common, besides their sky-rocketing antioxidant levels? Clean, uncomplicated design—a bare white marble-and-midcentury–furnished space against which the latest Amazonian berry concoction can take center stage. While the healthful food has come East intact, like all things New York, this city is doing things a bit differently when it comes to design.
Take the newly opened Cafe Clover, which is situated on the tony West Village corner also occupied by celeb haunts Da Silvano and Bar Pitti. With a menu conceived by Market Table and L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon alum David Standridge and interiors designed by the revered (and also West Village-based) Steven Gambrel, Clover is a fusion of two things: a refined New York restaurant atmosphere and a forward-thinking, nutritionist-approved menu that would be equally at home on the left coast.
Gambrel took inspiration from a source that's somewhat obscure, though certainly in tune with his refined aesthetic: Viennese secessionist architecture. He even used original plaster casts from Alberto Giacometti and Max Ernst to create the stunning light fixtures throughout the space. With its white-lacquered walls and glossy black accents, the 70-table restaurant takes on the vibe of a French Salon, with painted hardwood floors and vintage-inspired blue leather banquettes. The menu, however, is anything but bistro fare. Nutrition consultant Mike Roussell oversaw the conception of the dishes, from flax and chia chips served with butternut squash hummus to quinoa tagliatelle with beet greens and immune-boosting maitake mushrooms.
The page of the menu we're most excited about, however? The "healthy" cocktails with their pitch-perfect names, including the Beatnik (vodka, ginger, that ubiquitous pink root vegetable) and the Tropic Thunder. Made with rum, house made pineapple syrup, and Thai Bird's Eye Chili over a coconut water ice block, it sounds so good for us, we may have to have two.
Cafe Clover, 10 Downing Street, New York City; email for reservations.