Northern Spy Food Co.

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Photograph: Jolie Ruben

Northern Spy Food Co

Photograph: Jolie Ruben

Northern Spy Food Co

Photograph: Jolie Ruben

Northern Spy Food Co

East Village

Part of the problem with eating well—healthfully, deliciously and environmentally correctly—is that it’s expensive. Enter Northern Spy Food Co., a restaurant that serves locally sourced meals at reasonable prices (no dish costs more than $15). Chef Nathan Foot’s frequently changing menu is based almost entirely on what’s in season (Northern Spy is an apple indigenous to the Northeast). Rounding out the farm-to-table experience is a general store filled with locavore staples—grass-fed milk, McClure’s pickles, salted caramels. Though the urban-rustic conceit is reaching critical mass—the clapboard walls and beat-up school chairs are by-the-books at this point—value sets Northern Spy apart. The food isn’t fancy, but it satisfies. A “chicken and egg” sandwich memorably combines pan-crisped dark meat, zingy chimichurri, arugula and a poached egg on Sullivan Street bread. A runny egg also graced a hearty salad of escarole, country ham and roasted turnips in a mustard vinaigrette. Toothsome pastured pork loin shared the plate with rich pork jus and a “green saut” of leeks, green cabbage and brussels-sprout leaves. Less successful was the Montauk squid, an ill-defined mass of bland calamari, navy beans, carrots, more cabbage and tough-to-detect pasilla peppers. Red quinoa, meanwhile, found a bitter mate in radishes in an unpalatable side. As for drinks and dessert, we felt obligated to try a glass of dry, tart Northern Spy hard cider—offered along with other wines and local beers—plus a so-so wedge of Northern Spy apple pie, packed with slices of dry, al dente fruit. We preferred the bread pudding—eggy bites topped with whiskey-laced whipped cream. If this is eating well, we’ll take seconds.—TONY

Venue name: Northern Spy Food Co.
Address: 511 E 12th St
New York

Cross street: between Aves A and B
Opening hours: Mon - Wed 10am - 4pm, 5:30pm - 10pm; Thu 10am - 4pm, 5:30pm - 10pm; Fri 10am - 4pm, 5:30pm - 11pm; Sat 10am - 3:30pm, 5:30pm - 11pm; Sun 10am - 3:30pm, 5:30pm - 10pm
Transport: Subway: L to First Ave
Price: Average main course: $12. AmEx, MC, V
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Average User Rating

4 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:1
  • 4 star:1
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
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Alexis G

Though one of my favorite Alphabet City brunch spots, the bill can climb high if you indulge in their starters and sides. But some are near impossible to pass up, like the amazing biscuits with seasonal preserves. They also offer my favorite kale salad in the city.

Rachel A

The average main course was more like $25-30....everything looked wonderful but we went based on the information on this site and were quite embarrassed to leave the restaurant when we saw the prices on the menu.