On our last night in New York City back in November, while we were in town to support our friends The Minimalists most recent book release, Everything That Remains, Jeff & I stopped at Hu Kitchen and spent the better part of the day eating and enjoying the atmosphere as we got a little work done.
Hu Kitchen is a Paleo restaurant in New York City, actually one of the only Paleo restaurants – as opposed to just being Paleo friendly – currently operating in the United States. Let’s take a walk through Hu Kitchen, shall we?
Paleo Restaurant: Hu Kitchen (New York)
Woa Woa Woa…back it up
When we arrived in our Airbnb I listened to his interview on New York public radio and decided to join the Paleo NYC Meetup Group. Having been familiar with how our Paleo Chicago Meetup Group works, I figured if there were any events going on while we were in town, we could meet up with other NY Paleo diet peeps!
I also sent an email to John to see if he happened to be available during the week we were in town. Unfortunately our schedules were not able to align (and there were no Meetup events happening either) but he did recommend we check out Hu Kitchen, and I’m so glad he did.
Hu Kitchen: Get Back to Human
Restaurant: Hu Kitchen
Location: 78 5th Avenue, New York, NY 10011
What is Hu Kitchen?
Well it’s a restaurant, silly! :)
John Durant is one of seven advisors along with Joe Cross, who you may know if you’ve seen the documentary Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead (and if you haven’t you should check it out). The collaboration of these two guys alone on any project would produce something fantastic, let alone adding a whole team, so I knew Hu Kitchen must be someplace good. If you’re interested in the run down on the history behind creating this NYC Paleo restaurant feel free to read more about the advisors and the Hu Kitchen Story on their website because I’m going to give you a visual tour! :)
Of course I went straight to the website to find out a little more when John mentioned it. I scoped out the menu but found no photos to get an idea of what the place was like. So let’s get our tour on, shall we?
I assumed Hu Kitchen was a typical restaurant where you sit, order and eat. That, it is not.
When you first walk in you have the choice of ordering from the Juice and Mashbar or you can stop and get a smoothie, juice or bowl blended in front at the bar right inside the door. Or you can keep walking and head to the back where the take-away section or hot food area is. As you look around you can clearly identify John and Joe’s individual influences.
If you keep walking past the Mashbar, you’ll next come across the take-away section with multiple flavors of packaged seasoned kale…
locally sourced chocolate bars…
packaged nut and fruit bars…
bags of multiple flavors of baked Paleo granola…
grain-free Graham Bites and other grain-free and Paleo friendly products that are not made in-house, such as zucchini chips. Plus they have coconut water and other juices and drinks in the cooler section if you don’t want to wait at the smoothie bar.
Aside from the take away section on the left, next up is the Entrees, hot sides, soups and cold food section on the left, which come from the Kitchen.
We took a sample of a bunch of items in the cold food section along with a hot bowl.
Jeff and I racked up quite the bill at Hu Kitchen because I wanted a little taste of everything.
Good thing we spent a few hours hanging around working because my eyes are obviously bigger than my appetite.
Here’s what we ordered!
(Pictured above from left to right):
- Organic Stuffed Peppers – Ingredients: organic bell peppers, grass fed/ finished beef, carrot, organic celery, tomato, organic egg, parsley, basil, organic quinoa, sea salt
- Organic Turkey Meatloaf – Ingredients: organic turkey, organic celery, carrot, onion, scallion, organic egg, garlic house-made bbq (organic apple cider vinegar, organic coconut sugar, chili flake, spices), almond, sea salt
- Grass Fed/ Finished Meatballs – Ingredients: grass fed/grass finished beef, tomato sauce, shallot, organic eggs, garlic, organic celery, carrot, onion, basil, parsley, almond, sea salt, crushed red pepper, sea salt, black pepper
- Organic Wings – Ingredients: organic chicken, garlic, organic apple cider vinegar, coconut sugar, crushed red pepper
(Pictured above from back to front on the left):
- Organic Thai Chicken Salad – Ingredients: organic chicken, organic celery, organic coconut milk, cashew, ginger, shallot, organic apple cider vinegar, thai basil, sea salt, housemade hot sauce
- Wild Fish Cakes – Ingredients: wild hake, green cabbage, carrot, shallot, organic egg, organic coconut, arrowroot, parsley, lemon, organic white wine vinegar, garlic, red pepper flakes, sea salt
- Organic Almond Chicken Tenders – Ingredients: organic chicken, organic eggs, almond meal, smoked paprika, olive oil, sea salt
- Organic Primal Kale Salad – Ingredients: organic kale, organic goji berries, organic apple cider vinegar, unfiltered raw honey, shallot, garlic, mustard powder, pure olive oil, black and white sesame seeds, sea salt, black pepper
(Pictured above from middle to back):
- Cashew Creamed Broccoli – Ingredients: broccoli, organic kale, parsley, olive oil, turmeric, cashew, sea salt, black pepper
- Curried Potato – Ingredients: sweet potato, organic apricot, hazelnut, cilantro, scallion, curried aioli
- Stuffed Portobello – Ingredients: sweet potato, dates, walnut, parsley, organic egg, parsley, sea salt
And of course we had to give the hot section a try as well and our order came with a grain-free roll (pictured above).
- Hu Kitchen Bowl – Ingredients: Root Vegetable Mash + Hu Joe (grass fed/finished ground beef, tomato, carrot, garlic, onion, paprika, chili flake)
Hu Kitchen is a Paleo restaurant through and through. The decor is beautiful and well done. If the logo doesn’t give it away, as you walk around you will notice the cavelike architecture, the tables and chairs made out of real wood and just a modern caveman-esque atmosphere!
Though it’s not small by any means, the use of mirrors and lighting create the effect that the space feels ten times larger than it really is.
Another plus: they have free wifi! Upstairs you’ll find tables & chairs of varying heights and they’ve created a pleasant atmosphere for people to use the space to conduct business, work, eat or generally relax with friends (or like us, with your computer). You’d be hard pressed to find too many Paleo friendly places in New York City which provide a public place to eat and work (with wifi) at the same time.
Back downstairs by the kitchen area you’ll find the Hu Pillars posted on the wall.
If you’ve read The Paleo Manifesto, the Pillars will look and sound familiar. The pillars of Hu Kitchen are right in line with the Paleo diet and the only grains you’ll find are those that are less offensive, such as quinoa and rice.
The Hu Pillars
- count ingredients, not calories
- pull plants, push animals
- minimize grains
- embrace fat
- get back to animal
- sweeten wisely
- eat clean
Everywhere you look, you’ll see signs that state that Hu Kitchen contains NO: gluten, dairy, canola oil, refined sugars, cane sugar, preservatives or “natural” emulsifiers.
When we were on our way out we purchased a Hu Kitchen chocolate bar (Crunchy Banana, to be exact), boy was it delicious! We wrapped up our leftovers and took the chocolate with us on the plane home. Check out those packaging details!
Just to recap
Hu Kitchen serves food made and sourced from Organic Poultry & Eggs, Grass-Fed/Finished Beef, Sea Salt Only, Wild Fish Only, Organic Beer/Wine/Cider, 5-Stage Ultra-Filtered Water, Minimal Grains and NON-GMO. Their housemade condiments include Ketchup, Hot Sauce and BBQ Sauce and all almond butter and coconut cashew cream in the smoothie bar are also housemade.
I would say anything you pick up from Hu Kitchen will follow the Paleo diet. Of course if you have any questions about ingredients you don’t even have to ask because all ingredients are posted for every dish.
If you live in NYC and you’re following the Paleo lifestyle looking for more Paleo enthusiasts, definitely check out the Paleo NYC Meetup Group (founded by John Durant). And whether you live there or you’re visiting, go check out Hu Kitchen. You won’t regret it.
Two Thumbs Up for Hu Kitchen
Restaurant: Hu Kitchen
Location: 78 5th Avenue, New York, NY 10011
Restaurant Rating: 4 out of 5
Paleo Rating: 5 out of 5
Paleo Restaurant Rating Scale
Restaurant Rating: How good is it? On a scale of 1-5 (5 being the best I’ve ever had), how good is the restaurant, no matter if it’s paleo or not.
Paleo Rating: On a scale of 1-5 (5 being paleo perfection), how paleo is it? A 5 will have grass fed and pasture raised meats, local, organic produce and no peanut oil in sight.