• Chloe Wynne Reed

Better food, faster: productivity in the culinary scene

When it comes to food, this month’s theme word “productivity” typically refers to farming and the ability to create the greatest agricultural yield from the smallest amount of space. But most of us are not farmers, we navigate this urban jungle (if you’re an NYC-dweller like me) hunting for food in the trendiest new restaurants, via gourmet delivery apps and sometimes even in our own kitchens.

Productivity takes on a whole new meaning in the context of restaurants and it has manifested itself in some interesting ways. I’m sure it would be of no surprise to anyone reading that over the past few, maybe even 10 years, there has been a reversion to when artisans focused on mastering the art of creating one single product and doing it better than everyone else. Everywhere you look you see artisanal cheese, craft beer, small batch, local, etc.

This trend has become especially apparent in the fast-casual space and now even begun to appear in the finer dining scene with menus that are specific to one type of food. As a result, chefs and cooks are able to serve more people a higher quality product in a shorter amount of time, and probably with less food waste. Productivity at its best.

On the upscale end of the spectrum, Misi just recently opened by famed female chef Missy Robbins who takes the most successful part of her Lilia menu (pasta of course) and opened a restaurant that focuses on just that – top quality pasta. There are a few appetizers, but all the entrees are phenomenal pastas combining the finest ingredients with incredibly delicate noodles. You will have to be diligent in stalking the reservation system if you want to eat here anytime soon!

Sushi on Jones offers a unique experience of a 12-piece omakase in 30 minutes at their 6 seat sushi bar. At just $58 a person, this no-tipping restaurant offers the finest fish and can be squeezed into anyone’s schedule.

KazuNori serves nothing but a small selection of hand rolls to be eaten immediately so the nori stays crispy and the rice stays warm. The set of 6 handrolls makes for the perfect sized meal and hits all of the highlights like lobster, spicy scallop and blue crab. They don’t even have a liquor license and the line for a seat at the bar is consistently out the door.

Super Moon Bakehouse, sister shop to San Francisco’s Mr. Holmes Bakehouse, offers a small array of beautiful, delicious and incredibly creative baked goods, many of them are different flavored croissants that take up to three days to create.

Meatball Shop - the name says it all – they serve the best meatballs in any way you can imagine. The parmesan cream sauce is extra indulgent.

Egg shop is a similar concept but serves a whole menu of egg-based dishes, many of which are healthy and a good start to your day.

BEC takes it one step further and has a menu of gourmet bacon, egg and cheese combinations.

In the fast-casual space, Luke's Lobster serves up lobster rolls to the masses, Poke shops have taken the city by storm and even pizza restaurants have narrowed their focus to really serving just good quality pizza. Simo Pizza next to the Whitney museum serves an inexpensive and flavorful Neapolitan style pizza with a light crispy crust in 90 seconds.

Productivity in the food world has afforded us quicker access to higher quality foods whether it be in the form of a delicious bowl of ramen for lunch or a perfect handroll to satisfy your sushi craving. If you’re lucky some place may pop up nearby featuring your favorite food!

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