Le Botaniste’s Culinary Prescriptions

You're going to love what the doctor ordered

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The Tibetan Mama Rice Bowl at Le Botaniste
Le Botaniste's bowls, salads, dips and appetizers put the focus on plants. (Photos: Geert Teuwen)

If you’re a fan of the healthy-meets-luxe mini chain Le Pain Quotidien, you’re going to want to try the new Upper East Side spinoff, Le Botaniste.

The charming counter-service restaurant and organic/biodynamic wine bar serves up a small selection of appetizers, bowls, design-your-own salads and desserts, which the menu says are “100% botanical” (a fancy way of saying vegan), 99% organic and mostly gluten-free.

The bar at Le Botaniste
Take a seat at Le Botaniste’s bar for a bite and a glass of organic wine.

While the “prescriptions” on the menu board and the apothecary-style design touches (meant to represent the overall health benefits of eating well) might bring to mind tinctures and elixirs, the food at Le Botaniste is surprisingly down to earth. The hearty three-bean Chili Sin Carne ($14), for example, wouldn’t be out of place at an old-school vegetarian joint like Ithaca’s Moosewood—and that’s a compliment. We also liked the Tibetan Mama Rice Bowl ($14), another tasty throwback with a bowl-licking-worthy peanut-curry sauce.

Turns out this old-school appeal is not an accident. “Many of the dishes are inspired by classic dishes that people regularly enjoy, but are simply made with less salt, oil, etc., making it a more wholesome alternative without removing the flavor,” Alain Coumont, founder of Le Pain Quotidien and Le Botaniste, told us.

LPQ devotees will not be surprised to learn that desserts are a standout at Le Botaniste. We’ve been dreaming about the Chocolate Mud ($6), an intensely cocoa-y pudding so thick and rich you’d swear it had dairy. There are also a few favorites you might recognize from Le Pain Quotidien, including the luscious Coconut Chia Seed Pudding ($6).

Le Botaniste
833 Lexington Avenue, New York
(917) 262-0766
lebotaniste.us