Restaurant Review: Organic Grill

Organic Grill
123 1st Avenue
(between 7th Street and Saint Mark’s Place)
East Village, Manhattan

Vegiboys Rating (2.5/4)

The Organic Grill is an East Village restaurant with a lot of character. Bright colors, lots of fun decoration, New Zealander staff – all make it a nice place to be hanging out. We visited for brunch, and arrived late morning to a nearly empty restaurant; though just in time, as patrons had the restaurant packed by noon.

The menu is eclectic diner food with an impressive range of alcohols (a bar occupies much of the back half of the dining room). It was a bit too early for us to start imbibing liquors, so we went with a fresh OJ and a chocolate smoothie instead. The smoothie was phenomenal – a tall blend of cold coffee and chocolate flavors with a thick, well-blended consistency.

Their menu is chock-full of cutesy names; Brian ordered the Bennie & the Florentines, and I chose the Challah Holla. Unfortunately neither dish really lived up to the rest of the experience. Rather than continuing with fun, bold uniqueness, the food was mediocre.

Brian’s dish was two poached eggs over spinach and a multi-grain bread (the toast was grocery store quality), and had nothing to it beyond exactly those elements. A side of tempeh bacon lacked flavor too: a bit of smokiness, but hardly reminiscent of any sort of faux-meat, much less bacon. The home fries were good, but again had nothing to recommend them above what could easily be prepared at home.

My challah was a bit of a misnomer: it was just a dry French toast with neither enough vanilla nor cinnamon used in the bread bath. Walnuts and sliced bananas sat on top, but the dish really needed some moister fruit to offset the dry bread (slices of oranges were a nice addition to the side, but not really a cohesive part of the dish). To the side, the same tempeh bacon again failed to impress.

At just under $20 each, the price was a bit high for a diner-style meal, and based on the menu and the venue, we would expect quite a bit more inspiration in the cooking. The restaurant has a great space and great personality, they just need a kitchen to match before we try them again.

Food (2/4)
Atmosphere & Service
Value (2/4)

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