Tropical Storm at Melvin's Juice Box
Melvin himself (formerly of LifeThyme Market where he built a quite a devoted following) is the star attraction at Melvin's Juice Box, and his smoothies are colorful and fresh. Try the Tropical Storm ($10), which layers a base of wheatgrass juice with a smoothie made from fresh coconut and your pick of two fruits. I like the creamy banana and blueberry combo best.
Cacao Suave at The Butcher's Daughter
At this recently opened Soho shop, Cacao Suave ($8) is thick and creamy, practically a milkshake, with a base of frozen bananas, almond milk, and young coconut meat. Coupled with a generous serving of cocoa nibs and raw cacao, this smoothie is bound to satisfy a chocolate craving.
The Butcher's Daughter: 19 Kenmare Street, New York City, NY 10012 (map); 212-219-3434
Berry Powerful at Liquiteria
If I had to choose a favorite smoothie place in NYC, it would be Liquiteria. This East Village corner spot turns out consistently excellent drinks like the Papaya Paradise and the Berry Powerful (pictured, $6.45). The ingredients are simple, but the ideal proportions and blend make it worth many return trips. You get blueberries, bananas, strawberries, vanilla soy milk, flax seed oil, and bit of wild berry whey protein in this mix.
Green Mango at One Lucky Duck
The delightful Green Mango ($9) at One Lucky Duck gets a vegetal kick from fresh cilantro blended right into the smoothie. It's paired with ripe mangoes and cucumbers for a bright finish. There's also coconut water and lime juice to round it out, and if you have room for another, don't miss the Avocolada which features avocado as the main ingredient.
I Love Watermelon at Juice Generation
The name might be cheesy, but this smoothie ($6.40) is anything but. This is an unusually refreshing smoothie made with watermelon slices cut off the rind and blended to order with blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries. They automatically add in a bit of agave nectar but if you prefer (and I do), you can ask them to leave it out.
Smoothies at Jus
Jus is a tiny take-out stand attached to north side of Coffee Shop in Union Square. Their winning smoothie formula? Frozen fruit and nothing else. Pick from a selection that includes banana, mango, papaya, pineapple, strawberry, and much more, and they'll blend it up to order for $6.
Jus: 29 Union Square West, New York, NY 10003 (map); 212-243-7969
Whole Coconut Smoothie at LifeThyme Market
Coconut Smoothies ($8.50) at LifeThyme are the highlight of the extensive menu. After you order, the smoothie maker hacks open a fresh coconut, pours the coconut water into the blender, then spoons out every bit of meat to blend with your choice of fresh blueberries, strawberries, or other fruit.
Date-Lime-Banana or Strawberry-Raspberry Basil at Taim
At Taim, smoothies ($5.50) are made with fresh fruit and not much sugar. The result is a drink that's more icy and refreshing than creamy and filling—ideal for a warm day. It's hard to pick a favorite, but I'm equally torn between the Strawberry-Raspberry-Basil (pictured) and the Date-Lime-Banana smoothie. Ask for an extra dose of spicy grated ginger if you go with the latter!
Berry Blast at Chloe Soft Serve Fruit Co.
Housemade 'soft-serve fruit' (made with just whole fruit puréed and frozen, filtered water, and organic cane sugar) forms the foundation of all smoothies at Chloe Soft Serve Fruit Co. You can take the indulgent route with a hot peanut butter smoothie, or go lighter with Berry Blast ($7.50) which features raspberry soft-serve fruit with fresh orange segments, strawberries, bananas, and orange juice.
Formula 12 at Juice Press
There are 26 smoothies on the menu at Juice Press. Our pick: the well-balanced Formula 12 ($9.99). Fresh coconut water and coconut meat serve as the base which is blended with acai, mango, pineapple, and peach. What takes it one notch up from your ordinary concoction is the addition of pomegranate powder, maca (which gives it a nutty-vanilla element), and Irish moss.