So we asked him how to build the perfect grain bowl.
Wholesome, colorful grain bowls have joined avocado toast in the canon of trendy clean eats. And now, chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten has perfected the dish at abcV, his new plant-based powerhouse that opened yesterday in New York City’s Flatiron neighborhood.
“I want the first bite to be as exciting as the last,” he says. “You don’t want all creamy or all chewy, but you need those components to make something exciting and delicious.”
The celebrated chef behind fine-dining institution Jean-Georges in New York City has tapped Neal Harden, formerly of Maimonide and Pure Food & Wine to run the all-vegetarian kitchen, and the team is starting with breakfast and lunch services before diving into dinner later on.
“We live in a crazy world, so we need to bring as much nutrition and well-being to people as we can,” says Vongerichten. “We wanted to open a vegetable-centric restaurant and push it a little more. It’s a departure, and we want people to leave feeling greater—and running back to us.”
On the menu now, you’ll see sea buckthorn and persimmon bowls and maple syrup-drizzled dosas and gluten-free almond pancakes in the morning, and sumac-infused kabocha squash dip, fresh spinach pasta and tons of millet, ancient grains and wild rice galore in the afternoon.
Here Vongerichten breaks down the elements of a flawless grain bowl (pictured above).
Simmer your grains in seasoned water to pack in more flavor. Here, millet, amaranth and quinoa get an umami punch from kombu-laced cooking water.
Top with vegetables that offer interesting texture. “You don’t want a bowl of grains that eats like horse seed,” says Vongerichten, who piles on roasted turnips to add complexity.
Mix in some crunch. Puffed sorghum and hazelnuts get the job done, while also lending their own earthy flavor.
Don’t forget to incorporate some fat and acid. Avocado enriches this bowl and Meyer lemon vinaigrette brightens it up.