"This isn't a restaurant that ever had pineapple in the kitchen before the juice program," said Maialino sous chef Jonah Miller. The peeled pineapple gets whizzed up in their centrifugal Breville juicer (actually the same one we have at SEHQ!) to make a Pineapple Mint and Ginger juice ($8). Just a tiny nubbin of ginger and a sprig of mint goes into a batch. "Too much ginger will blow your mouth out," said Miller.
He and fellow sous chef Jason Pfeifer, who assisted with Noma's juice program during his stage in Copenhagen, have been experimenting with fruit and veggie combos. With so much juice fervor in the air these days, they saw an opportunity to do it really well at Maialino. Three "seed to stem" juices are available on the weekday breakfast menu for now, with plans of rolling them into the weekend brunch rotation soon.
The juices are evolving with the season's availability. "We're really excited for summer berries, peaches, and tomatoes later in the season," said Miller, who nodded that yes, this juicer means a Bloody Mary will see its way onto the cocktail list. On the current menu right now is a Green Apple, Fennel, and Spinach juice: a vivaciously verdant and refreshing sipper that's not at all bitter. You know you're drinking something healthy, but not wheat-grassy, tough-to-swallow kind of healthy.
Another one available: Carrot Pear, a fiercely orange juice made with naturally sweet carrots and Bosc pears. "It's annoying when you get a juice at room-temperature. Not as appetizing," said Miller, who noted that all of the juices are served on ice. You can order them at the table or to-go from the coffee counter inside, which we could see happening a lot on sunshiney days with so many people strolling around the Gramercy neighborhood.
Though it would have been cool to set up the juicer near the bar and watch them stick whole carrots into the machine—no peeling or de-seeding required!—it was just too loud, so they're keeping it in the kitchen. The salumistas have taken on the fresh-juicing work, as the salumi traffic isn't as crazy during breakfast service.
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