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  • Restaurants
  • Harlem
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended
  1. FieldTrip
    Photograph: Courtesy FieldTrip
  2. FieldTrip
    Photograph: Courtesy FieldTrip
  3. FieldTrip
    Photograph: Courtesy FieldTrip
  4. FieldTrip
    Photograph: Courtesy FieldTrip
  5. FieldTrip
    Photograph: Courtesy FieldTrip

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

This summer, when chef JJ Johnson jumped into the fast-casual trend, who could blame him? The prices are more accessible at fast-casual spots than at fine-dining restaurants, and the business model is more nimble. That said, the food isn’t always better.

But with the rice-bowl restaurant FieldTrip, Johnson has created a winner—and no item costs more than $12. Because everything looks so appealing, your most difficult decision will be figuring out what to order at the counter.

For a first course, the Crab Pockets ($6.95) are a must. Everyone loves the Chinese takeout versions of these deep-fried appetizers; Johnson’s recipe is better, packing a generous helping of crab with garlic-herb cream cheese inside a perfectly crispy wonton skin. (Pro tip: Share this starter to save room for the filling rice dishes.)

While Johnson was the chef behind Nomad’s much lauded, now shuttered pan-African restaurant Henry, he  first made a name for himself in Harlem at  Cecil and Minton’s. There, he  turned to the African diaspora to inspire his cooking, which drew upon Asian, Indian, Caribbean and American ingredients.  Many of FieldTrip’s bowls follow similar themes: With its green curry and sticky rice, the shrimp bowl ($12) reminds us of Thai flavors. Meanwhile, the braised beef bowl ($11) offers a hearty mix of tender meat, Texas brown rice and spicy black beans, all topped with a cooling turmeric yogurt. The hefty portion is enough for two meals, so box some up and save room for the refreshing, not-too-sweet rice milk–based soft serve with hibiscus and raspberry ($4.50).

Unlike some fast-casual eateries, you won’t leave feeling broke and hungry. “See you next trip,” a chipper woman behind the counter said to each customer picking up a to-go order. She was right to be so presumptuous: We were already plotting another visit.

Written by
Bao Ong


New York
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