I just recently returned to the green-friendly Hearst building to find a new green-friendly restaurant next door, Otarian. Last week was the first time I actually stopped inside the whimsically decorated restaurant — it’s outfitted in bright woven baskets hanging on the wall and sleek furniture — and looks so clean it makes you feel like you can eat off the floor. I found out later the restaurant, owned by Radhika Oswal, grew out of its London outpost and prides itself on being the world’s first low-carbon restaurant with a vegetarian/fusion menu.
Designed to create the smallest carbon footprint possible, all the packaging is compostable and furniture, all recycled. You’ll also be surrounded with enviro-conscious messages (check your napkin, it might read: “Forest area equivalent to the size of Greater New York City is lost every two days due to livestock production”).
Then there’s the menu which will make you salivate.
PORTOBELLO MUSHROOM: Field mushroom, nut-free pesto, mayonnaise, grilled peppers, lettuce, tomato, cheese, and red onion on a brown bun.
Their fusion menu has a lot of Indian fare twists. You’ll find a Potato Onion O Dill wrap filled with potatoes, onions, dill and cheese, with salsa or hot sauce, or a Tandoori Mushroom O Paneer wrap with cucumber yogurt dip. Or you can get a Tex Mex burger with a spicy tex mex patty, barbeque sauce, guacamole, salsa, cheese, and lettuce. I had a hard time picking off their menu, since they were all seemed equally unusual and tasty. I braced myself went for the Portobello Mushroom and was pleasantly surprised at how great it tasted.
I have to admit, I went back a few days later for the Tandoori Mushroom O Paneer wrap which was pretty spicy and filling, but felt like there was more to be had. Actually, I think it overcompensates in spiciness for the minimal taste. The cucumber yogurt dip it comes with, helps.
I also ordered fries which were a lot less oilier than most fast food places and I ended up really liking it. Either way, I have a feeling I’m still gonna go back for more.
947 8th Ave
at 56th St.
New York, NY 10019