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Eat and Drink

Creative beets: How to eat the season's 'it' vegetable

Every year has its dining trends. In 2013, it was New Nordic cuisine and omakase menus, while 2014 fetishized uni, barbecue and chicken dinners for two. It may only be March but, if the menus around town are any indication, 2015 will be the year of the beet.

Long favored for its sweet but earthy taste, the beet has been around forever — in salads, in borscht, in juices. Recently, however, New York chefs have started using the ingredient in highly creative ways, from cocktails, condiments and snacks to entrees and desserts.

“They’re delicious raw, cooked, roasted or grilled, and they come with their own salad on top,” Dirt Candy chef Amanda Cohen says. “What’s not to love?”

Jason LaGarenne, owner of the new bar Lazy Point, has his own explanation for the beet’s rise.

“People have finally figured out that beets are the secret to immortality,” LaGarenne says.

However you slice it, here’s a look at the many ways bars and restaurants are using beets in NYC.

Little Park's beet risotto and tartare

You can also experience beets in their prime
Photo Credit: Noah Fecks

You can also experience beets in their prime at Little Park, where Andrew Carmellini offers a magenta-hued beet risotto with tangy cheese and poppy seeds, as well as a beetroot tartare with horseradish, rye and smoked trout roe. $16/$15; 85 W. Broadway, 212-220-4110, littlepark.com

Margaux's beet chips

Forget the potato: Margaux is all about the
Photo Credit: Margaux

Forget the potato: Margaux is all about the beet when it comes to its chips. The Mediterranean-inspired menu features beet chips and labne, comprised of beets, Greek yogurt, grated lemon zest, sea salt and sumac, among its starters. $6; 5 W. Eighth St., 212-321-0111, margauxnyc.com

Colonie's beet ketchup

Inspired by the Aussie burger, Colonie chef Andrew
Photo Credit: Colonie

Inspired by the Aussie burger, Colonie chef Andrew Whitcomb started playing around with different ways to combine beef and beets, creating pickles, compotes and chutneys before coming up with beet ketchup. Made with slow-roasted beets, Sir Kensington’s, brown sugar, onions, roasted garlic paste, Four Spice and vinegar, the creative condiment can be found atop the Colonie burger, along with cheddar, bacon and a fried egg. $18; 127 Atlantic Ave., Brooklyn Heights, 718-855-7500, colonienyc.com

Dirt Candy's beet picklebacks

Those looking for a quicker path to beet
Photo Credit: Dirt Candy

Those looking for a quicker path to beet nirvana can head to Dirt Candy’s reboot on the Lower East Side and order a round of picklebacks, complete with one shot each of chilled vodka and pickled beet juice. Made with salt, coriander, Thai basil and Cohen’s special ingredient — Thai chilies — the juice delivers quite the kick. “It’s the spiciness that makes it pop,” she says. $7; 86 Allen St., 212-228-7732, dirtcandynyc.com

Beet cocktails at Lazy Point and Evening Bar

The cocktail-focused Lazy Point offers the Beaten Gypsy
Photo Credit: Lazy Point

The cocktail-focused Lazy Point offers the Beaten Gypsy (pictured), a cocktail made with gin, beet juice, rosemary and lime. “Eating beets, using them in juices — it was a natural progression to ‘Let’s see how this mixes with booze,’” LaGarenne says. Considering it’s one of Lazy Point’s top drinks, his experiment seems to have succeeded. PDT alum Anne Robinson took a similar risk at Evening Bar, where she now mixes the Old Alobar on a nightly basis. Also made with gin, the cocktail features walnut liqueur, lemon, egg white and beet powder, playing on the classic sour. “People love how it looks when it’s presented, but the herbal flavors and balance seem to please them even more,” she says. $13 at Lazy Point, 310 Spring St., 212-463-7406, lazypointnyc.com; $18 at Evening Bar, 85 W. Broadway, 212-587-7000, eveningbar.com

El Rey's beet-pickled egg

The popular El Rey Coffee Bar and Luncheonette
Photo Credit: Instagram/ elreynyc

The popular El Rey Coffee Bar and Luncheonette recently added dinner service, but diners are still clamoring for chef Gerardo Gonzalez’s lunch menu, which features a beet-pickled egg. Enjoy it on its own or add it to the kale salad for a twist on the ubiquitous dish. $2 egg, $7 small/$10 large kale salad; 100 Stanton St., 212-260-3950, elreynyc.com

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