Have you heard of the Whole30 program? It’s been all over the place lately, and I’m loving that…but I’m also a little biased. While working at HMH, the publishing company who did their book, I was knee-deep in all things Whole30. One of the great things about that was that many people at my office, including me, became super inspired to try the program for ourselves. Because of that, there was a lot of talk going on about healthy places to eat at in the area. While I had heard of most of the options, there was one that was completely new to me—Hu Kitchen.
The “Hu” in Kitchen relates to their tagline: “get back to human.” Basically, the restaurant is trying to start a food revolution to get back to the pre-industrial way of eating. They’re doing this by forgetting food that’s been made in a lab, chemically processed, and refined while embracing food that would be found in nature. It all started because the people behind the restaurant were disappointed with the current food options available and all the lies in the food industry. So they began a mission to move away from unprocessed, unhealthy food and change the way people eat!
In order to “make food for humans,” Hu Kitchen’s food follows 8 pillars:
- Unprocess: Eat whole foods where you can recognize the ingredient.
- Count Ingredients, Not Calories: “Don’t count calories; make ingredients count.”
- Pull Plants, Push Animals: Make produce the center of your meal while pushing animal protein to the edges of your plate.
- Minimize Grains, Always Whole: For the most part, you can go with vegetables as your carbs, and look for grain-free alternatives whenever you can.
- Embrace Fat: Forget the bad fat and appreciate the good fat.
- Get Back to Animal Too: Only source grass-fed, pastured meats and dairy, organic poultry and eggs, and wild seafood to avoid industrial products with GMO food pellets, hormones, and antibiotics.
- Sweeten Wisely: Be careful about what sweeteners you intake; use organic coconut sugar, unfiltered honey, and maple syrup.
- Eat Clean: Avoid food that is foreign, toxic, or has genetically modified ingredients.
Other things you should note are that their food is gluten-free and while they’re not 100% organic, they do choose organic for foods that have a high risk factor of pesticides and toxins. They also aren’t completely paleo because of the certain grains and legumes they serve, but as long as you avoid those, you should be golden.
Seem like a lot? Well the great thing about going to Hu Kitchen is that you don’t really have to worry about all those “rules” and guidelines. If you agree with their manifesto and either eat or want to eat like this at home, you can feel comfortable dining at their restaurant because you can trust that they’re taking care of all of it for you.
By now you’re probably wondering what is even on their menu. A lot actually! There are different stations set up throughout the space with different focuses like their “mashbar” or bowl station. Foodwise, some things you could get are berkshire pork breakfast sausage, wild meatloaf, zucchini soup, salmon cakes, tuna salad, curried sweet potato…plus smoothies, juices, sweets, and more! I decided to get one of their bowls for $10.95 with root vegetable mash as my base, roasted wild mushroom as my topping, and then red onion, cilantro, and peanuts as my add-ons. Oh and that little dark brown nugget you see on the side? That’s their small grain-free bread that comes with all bowls.
While I’m normally a big meat-eater person, I didn’t miss having a main animal protein at all because mushrooms are so meaty themselves. It did feel a little bit funny creating a bowl with a bunch of things that I wouldn’t have thought to combine on my own, but it was a satisfying lunch. Satisfying in the sense that I was full but I still got a dessert anyways because that’s a totally different stomach don’t ya know? I got one of their crack bars, which of course, is way different from any other crack bars you may be used to just because of the texture and how sticky it felt, but it did the trick.
So! There’s quite a lot about Hu Kitchen to take in, but I am all about what they’re trying to do for the food industry, and I love that a place like this can exist and thrive. Are you down for their mission?
Bowl with root vegetable mash, roasted wild mushroom, onion, cilantro, and peanuts; crack bar
78 5th Ave
New York, NY 10011