Next Door Restaurant Serves Organic Fare in Washington Heights

Formerly known as Healthy Habits and recently re-named in relation to its big brother eatery 107 West, one might assume that Next Door restaurant is experiencing an identity crisis of sorts. But you’d be wrong. Owners and dynamic brotherly duo, Simon and Thomas Hui, confidently injected the wholesome, organic-driven menu that’s made their Washington Heights eatery so successful for the past year and a half, with an artful array of super fresh sushi and sashimi selections.

And for those like me, who associate health food with boring, ascetic translations of common fare, you will be pleasantly surprised by the lively, plentiful dishes served up in this cozy, relaxing venue.

Next Door is no fundamentalist vegetarian eatery. What they do is mostly organic-Poultry is free range, meats are free of hormones and antibiotics, fish and seafood is incredibly fresh, and besides the milk they provide for die-hard coffee drinkers who like the creamy mix, everything is dairy free.

I dined alone on a recent weekday evening. Though early for dinner, a few couples were sprinkled throughout the warmly lit room. I took a window seat and enjoyed watching busy passersby and people returning from their workdays as I sampled the menu.

The marinated beets and spicy tofu salad appetizer has real pizzazz. Its red onions and chili sauce awarded me immense flavor. The cucumber, arugala and firm tofu cubes subdued the heat just enough. If you like spicy this dish should not be missed.

The popular tuna and green apple sashimi is well balanced and succulent. The fish slice was notable for its sweet bloom. Thomas proudly reports that his brother whom does all the buying for the restaurant, hand picks fish and seafood every morning from the Fulton Fish Market, and meat and produce from neighboring Hunt’s Point. The tart green apple and smooth guacamole added complimentary flavors and texture.

The all-natural turkey meatloaf would even make Harriet Nelson beam. Served with sautÃ?©ed Asian greens and mashed potatoes, the generous slice of the essential retro comfort food is discovered anew in low-fat, organic ground turkey, garlic shallots, tamari sauce and chili. It’s finished with a mouth-watering sherry wine gravy.

Prepared with organic sucanat, minimally processed sugar that maintains its nutrients, and free of dairy, the desserts are as sinless as a calorie-counter can hope to find. The chocolate brownie cake is a dense confection sure to please the sweet tooth. But if you’re a pie lover, you may want to try the appetizing three-berry, pumpkin or apple pastries.

Not to be overlooked is their well-selected wine and beer list. And by Valentine’s Day they will have a full-service bar.

Having only touched on the offerings here, I recommend a visit to sample other inviting items like the roasted �½ chicken, ancho chili rubbed skirt steak and the yam ravioli with shrimp, corn and bell peppers. And if you are too busy, they will conveniently deliver to your home.

Next Door
813 West 187th Street
Monday through Friday 5 to 11:00 p.m.
Saturday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Sunday 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
212-543-2111

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