Undecided on what to eat in Hunterdon County? The Clean Plate Kitchen is nestled in beautiful downtown Clinton and touts “healthy, allergy friendly, and locally and sustainably sourced” food. I love dining and visiting Clinton! Since it isn’t a far drive, I was happy to go here for lunch since it’s been on our short list. The menu reminded me of another farm-to-table restaurant, Escape in Montclair, so I was excited to try this restaurant PLUS we hadn’t had a lunch date in a while.
According to their website: Owners Anthony and Nicole Piazza created The Clean Plate Kitchen with several intentions in mind… with the objective to follow their passion and stay true to their philosophy about food, health, business, community. Nicole is a holistic dietitian with a nutrition practice in Clinton, Nourish to Heal, combined with her and Anthony’s experience in the food industry ideas started brewing for a different kind of menu. Predominantly gluten-free, with many dairy-free choices, vegetarian and vegan options using organic and locally sourced ingredients that makes the menu safe for everyone to enjoy.
The restaurant is cute and quaint with definitely rustic charm. We received a warm welcome from the hostess and our server before sitting down. It was a full dining room which is always a good sign.
We started with hot, organic green tea (pretty much all I’ve been drinking lately) and noshed on the lemon-infused olive oil popcorn, their version of a bread basket. This was nice since I am watching my carbs–keeping it real–and the popcorn was fresh and tasty. A definite twist!
It took a few moments to go over the menu, listen to the specials, and take it all in. I finally decided to start with the Om Nom Nom, seasoned chia and black rice bites with a touch of maple syrup and finished with a coconut curry. It was fun to say when I ordered but even more fun to eat. The balls are a nice size and hearty. After eating one and half rice bites, I felt my stomach getting full. My husband ordered the It’s a Date Medjool, dates stuffed with goat cheese and wrapped with nitrate-free bacon finished with a Fourchette balsamic drizzle. Despite being a date, it wasn’t too sweet with just the right amount of cheese.
There were so many lunch tantalizing lunch items but I decided on the Shake Your Tail Feather wrap especially after reading its praises on Yelp. Yup, I’m that type of person that lusts over the food porn and reviews before settling on what to eat. The wrap consisted of roasted Griggstown chicken, feta, asparagus, sun-dried tomatoes, sautéed mushrooms, and finished with a Fourchette balsamic reduction. I decided on collard greens for my wrap over a multigrain or spinach and it was a delicious choice. The plantain chips were flavorful and crunchy. The perfect accompaniment for a light lunch and I still couldn’t finish the whole thing.
My Mister had the Cotton Cattle beef burger with goat cheese, fried onions, and nitrate-free bacon. According to him it had “a delicious brioche bun and a good burger that was perfectly cooked medium and seasoned.” This is a from a man that knows his burgers. The sweet potato fries, in his opinion, were very good. They were lightly seasoned. He also ordered the Brussel sprouts with bacon that were cooked a little more than he would have liked but fresh and delicious.
Despite not being able to finish our lunches, I wanted to hear about the yummy dessert specials. All of the dessert specials were vegan choices and I opted for the Java chia pudding and my husband chose the Blueberry chia pudding. The Java chia pudding was delicious with a smooth texture. I ate a few bites and decided it would make a better treat later. My husband thought his his pudding was yummy–not too sweet.
We will definitely be back and bring the boys. There is an extensive wine list (I didn’t drink as it is still #DryJanuary) and the dinner menu piqued my interest. Lots of delicious-tasting entrees! Clean Plate Kitchen reminded me of this quote:
“This magical, marvelous food on our plate, this sustenance we absorb, has a story to tell. It has a journey. It leaves a footprint. It leaves a legacy. To eat with reckless abandon, without conscience, without knowledge; folks, this ain’t normal.” – Joel Salatin, farmer and author of Folks, This Ain’t Normal; You Can Farm