By Vanessa Packer
Photography By Sasha Israel
“REALLY BEAUTIFUL, SUPER FRESH, DELICIOUS FOOD THAT HAPPENS TO BE HEALTHY,” is how Marissa Lippert explains the cuisine ethos behind her beloved West Village restaurant Nourish Kitchen and Table. The rotating menu at Nourish focuses on vegetable and fruit forward dishes with an emphasis on seasonality. “Balance is really what we speak to here. Seasonal, local, and really beautiful food. Those are elements of Nourish, as well as the authenticity of food which I think sometimes gets lost in our everyday lives,” Lippert continues. Their solid take-away business as expanded with their line of customizable cleanses. Lippert has applied her background as a dietician to creating a personalized approach to sustainable diet change. In addition, their shop now includes a curated selection of artisan flatware, handmade dishes and bowls, and organic natural beauty products. With plates piled high with their signature kale salad, feasting on their rainbow cruditè and house-made beet dip, we sat down to discuss more of what goes into keeping New Yorkers truly nourished.
How did the idea for Nourish Kitchen and Table come about?
From years of working with private nutrition clients and considering what was lacking in the market and what they wanted to eat. I wanted to create a place for quick, healthy take-away. I saw a niche in the market in terms of the kind of food I wanted to eat, and what I felt was missing. It evolved from there.
What did you want to eat?
Really beautiful, super fresh, delicious food that happens to be healthy. I happen to eat out a lot, as most New Yorkers do, and I also love to cook at home. When I eat out, I don’t limit myself to anything on the menu, but I’m conscious of portion sizes. We try to inform in some way here. It’s been really great to hear back from people that eat here once a day, or multiple times a day, tell us how energized and good they feel from our food. They feel nourished. I love when I have guys in here, and they comment on how they will only eat vegetables here at Nourish. We have a lot of vegetable and fruit forward dishes which are elements I really spoke to in my practice as a dietician. I think it’s important to frame your meals around fruits and vegetables, and then everything else you can fit around them on a plate. Balance is really what we speak to here. Seasonal, local, and really beautiful food. Those are elements of Nourish, as well as the authenticity of food which I think sometimes gets lost in our everyday lives.
Nourish does customizable cleanses, how does that work?
It speaks to my background as a dietician. My background is working with clients one-on-one and really fine tuning all the details of their lifestyle and eating habits. I work closely with each client on our cleanse, so it’s a unique mix of personalized meals as well as nutrition counseling. We offer 3-day, week-long and month-long cleanse packages that include beautiful fresh meals made here at Nourish, designed specifically to meet individual goals, and delivered to your doorstep. Our cleanse brings together my expertise in that fine tuning, as well as the client’s progress around our food and the psychological side of things. Often times, people come see me and it’s more like eating therapy. It’s sustained habit change if you are trying to eat healthier, trying to lose weight, trying to eat for a healthy pregnancy or you are running a marathon. How do you do it so it fits into your lifestyle? Our cleanse is not meant to be a quick fix. People can use it like that, but the way you feel afterward is that you feel satiated, you aren’t dying of hunger or recovering from headaches because you’ve been on five juices a day. Our shortest term cleanse is 3 days, and that can act as a reset button. Aiding digestion, and honing your hunger levels so you can check back in with yourself, and connect to what your stomach is telling your brain. Your body should be telling you at intervals how you are feeling, and your digestion should be working like a machine. That’s when you know that stuff is working properly. You can see it in your skin and your hair.
Do you have three tips that people can introduce into their diet from square one?
Water, first of all. Drink more of it. Fifty percent or more of what you put into your body each day should be from fruits and vegetables. Yes, I’m dead serious. Portions are really key and too often overlooked. Most of us eat at least 15-20% more than we need to. When you are eating properly and you are eating lots of fruits and vegetables you fill up faster off of less. Not being afraid of food, enjoying it, and adjusting your meals around actually enjoying the food you eat.
What does a typical day look like on the cleanse?
We usually incorporate one juice. Everyone is different, but for an average client that isn’t juicing we’ll do a piece of frittata for breakfast or a chia-pina, which is our chia pot with pineapple and coconut. Usually, I’ll incorporate a mid-morning juice. Our green juice is our signature juice. It’s spinach, celery, grapefruit, pineapple, mint and jalapeño. Lunch could be a salad with protein on top, vegan or not, and a small grain salad on the side. A snack like the beet dip and cruditè or apples and almond butter, or artisan cheese and sliced fruit, something like that. Dinner would be often times pared down a little bit. Protein, roasted vegetables and a side salad. I find that for women that are active and looking to clean things up a bit, centering your lunch as the most energizing meal of the day, with the complex carbs that you will utilize throughout the day, puts you in a position to have a light dinner where roasted vegetables could be the center, because you are not ravenous.
What’s a typical day look like for you?
I attempt to eat as I speak to. There really isn’t a typical day anymore. It depends on the time of year actually. I believe you have to listen to your body at different seasons. For breakfast in the winter and fall, I can’t do yogurt but typically in the summertime I’ll have yogurt with chopped pecans or granola and some fresh fruit or a green juice and a hard boiled egg, or half an avocado and a hard boiled egg. In the morning, I crave fresh fruit or healthy fat like the avocado. Generally, I’m not hungry for a morning snack, but if I am I’ll have juice or a piece of fruit. For lunch, I’ll have a couple of our salads. Afternoon snack – I’ll pick at stuff in the kitchen, tasting new things, or I’ll make a mini salad or I’ll grab an apple. Maybe I’ll eat the occasional macaroon scraps. Dinner I could make at home or go out. I’ll make quinoa, salad, a piece of fish. Simple, standard stuff.
How often do you eat out?
About three times a week.
Do you get inspiration when you eat out?
I do, yeah. It’s my outlet, I see my friends, I relax. You live in New York and you want to see your friends, you go out for dinner. It’s nice to be in another environment. If I’m home in the summer, I throw a trash can salad together with whatever is in my fridge. I love that because it forces me to be creative with whatever I have in the house. I did that last Sunday and created something that may come on the menu here.
What was it?
My farmers market had these tiny pieces of fish from Long Island. I lightly battered them and pan fried them, and I used three different dried chilis to make a sauce and had an avocado-olive salad with cilantro. It was really good. Then tossed together a salad with some left over kale around and threw fresh corn nuts, red onion, and some blue cheese and a touch of smoked paprika, lemon juice, and olive oil.
So opening Nourish hasn’t stopped you from cooking at home?
I don’t cook as much as I did before, but I really try to make Sundays my day to cook at home, my day to regenerate. I live near Thompkins Square Park, and they have a lovely farmers market on Sundays so that’s helpful for me. I try to cook at home at least once or twice a week.
Do you have any other healthy habits you try to stick to?
I go to the gym ideally four or five times a week. I’ll run outside when it gets warmer out. I’m a big fan of 30/60/90 over at Equinox. I’ll do the occasional Barry’s or SoulCycle class as well.
We noticed a lot of Middle Eastern Spices in many of your dishes, what about the Middle Eastern Cuisine draws you in?
I’ve traveled to Turkey, I would move to Istanbul tomorrow if I could. I’ve always had intrigue in that area around food. Israeli food, Mediterranean food, Italian as well. We do Asian dishes sometimes, but the Middle Eastern spice flavor profile is the most prominent.
Do you have spices or ingredients that are unexpected or underrated that you love?
We use a lot of Aleppo Pepper, it’s a bit more intriguing. Sumac, it has a lemony flavor and brightens dishes, Za’atar spice is really nice too. Even just really good salt, finishing salt like Maldon or just salting food properly makes a big difference. We do our own Harissa spice, and rosewater we use a bit. Tasmanian peppercorn I discovered recently, It’s lemony even though it’s a black peppercorn. We source several of our spices from SOS Chefs in the East Village.
Is there a place you want to visit culinary wise?
I’ve been to Morocco, I would like to go back to Turkey. I would love to go to Asia and places I’ve been to already but just want to go back. I’d love to go to Paris every year. Copenhagen I went to a couple of years ago, that was really interesting. eventually the Middle Eastern countries I can’t get to right now, food and inspiration wise.
Does your menu change everyday?
There are some staples like the chicken and the kale salad, but we rotate a lot of other dishes in. We have a pool of items each month that we pull from and then we’ll put in random specials.
What’s your best selling dish?
Probably the kale salad. Our most popular dishes are probably from my grandmother. My mom and grandmother have been tremendous influences on the menu
Is there an ingredient or a vegetable that’s coming into season that you are really looking forward to?
Everything. Fava beans, rhubarb both savory and sweet. I’ve pickled it before, or made pork with a rhubarb base. For summertime, great strawberries and tomatoes, there is a purveyor at Union Square market called Berried Treasures farms, they have the best heirloom beans, amazing potatoes, tomatoes, speciality herbs and lettuces.
What are your indulgences?
Pate and wine.
What’s on the horizon for Nourish?
We are figuring out how to use our waste more sustainably. We’re experimenting using beet pulp from our beet juice in our new beet-veggie burger. We are also playing around with the almond meal from our almond milk in some baked goods. Our chef, Diavanna recently put out these beautiful cod cakes that are like crab cakes we make from extra pieces of fish. We are thinking about how can we be smarter about using things and being less wasteful. Being comfortable with all the parts of an ingredient, not just the parts that are perfect and pristine.
For Marissa Lippert’s Green Apple Click HERE
To make Nourish’s famous Beet Dip