Forget the 100-Mile Diet—these days, we're finding that more and more of our greens hail from farms that are close enough to reach by subway. The urban-agriculture movement, while still minuscule by industrial standards, is slowly but surely digging its roots into the city's disused lots and rooftops. In 2009, Annie Novak and Ben Flanner began cultivating seedbeds for what would become Brooklyn's Eagle Street Rooftop Farm, and last year Ben Granger established the thriving Brooklyn Grange in Queens. The latest outfit to tame the concrete jungle is Gotham Greens, which produces a hefty haul of fresh veggies and herbs out of a 15,000-square-foot greenhouse on top of a former bowling alley in Greenpoint. Unlike their compatriots, the trailblazing green thumbs at Gotham use hydroponics—a soil-free planting technique in which roots are bathed in nutrient-rich water—to maximize their year-round growing potential. But this is no backyard weed operation. The first summer's bounty—including sweet basil and tender, buttery Bibb lettuce—has already caught the attention of Michael Anthony (Gramercy Tavern) and other locavore chefs who appreciate that the greens can be delivered within 24 hours of being harvested. And while other urban farms funnel most of their wares to local eateries, Gotham Greens sells its bounty to consumers at big grocery stores like Whole Foods and D'Agostino, at prices that often undercut their organic competition. As production ramps up (the team says it expects to grow 100 tons of produce annually), look out for new crops like red romaine, bok choy and mustard greens. Available at Whole Foods, D'Agostino and FreshDirect. Visit gothamgreens.com for more info.
Ayios Greek Rotisserie
Can’t afford a vacation in Santorini? Get a taste of the Greek lifestyle at this taverna in the East Village. Whet your appetite with a crispy slice of spinach spanakopita ($10), a plate of chargrilled octopus ($19) or shrimp saganaki ($18). For your main course, go casual with a chicken or pork yeeros platter served with fries, tomatoes, onions, pita and the house sauce ($14), or gorge on the rich moussaka, a dish of eggplant, potato and ground beef topped with a thick layer of bechamel sauce ($16). A whole grilled sea bass ($25) or salmon fillet ($18) might do the trick if you’re craving seafood. Finish your meal with a traditional Greek walnut cake ($8) or head straight for the bar. You’re going to want to taste the hard-to-find spirits like ouzo ($7) and the Greek brandy called metaxa ($14). The wine lists features mostly Mediterranean vintages, while the signature cocktail list includes themed beverages like a Mykonos Mule ($14).
Venue says: “When you mention Time Out you can have a Yeeros Pita with your choice of either a glass of house wine or draft beer for $9.”