Cafe Clover is a popular health-focused American restaurant in NYC’s West Village from chef David Standridge (formerly of L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon) and partners David Rabin of The Lamb’s Club and Kyle Hotchkiss-Carone. Its design, by Steven Gambrel, is cheery, light-filled, modern, and features the restaurant’s signature blue leather banquettes. The team recently opened health-conscious grocery Clover Grocery a few doors down offering produce, prepared foods and healthy snacks.
For brunch, Cafe Clover is known for its satisfying puffed grain granola with mixed nuts, chia seeds, greek yogurt, stewed apricots and raw local honey, and sinfully-delicious quinoa pancakes with roasted apples, cashews, and maple syrup. But don’t forget about the delicious turmeric gold latte: cold-pressed turmeric juice, La Colombe’s Fishtown espresso, almond or coconut milk, cinnamon and black pepper, topped with gold leaf.
We chatted with Cafe Clover chef David Standridge to learn more about the project plus his daily routine.
My lunch routine consists of: rarely having a routine. I realized we were doing something right though when I started ordering delivery from Clover on my days off! It’s really the way I eat all the time now. My perfect lunch is a chickpea pizzette, a smoothie and some bone broth.
If I weren’t a chef I would be: an ER doctor. It’s really the same hours and while doctors are dealing with life and death situations, chefs are dealing with really trivial things that they pretend are life and death like misaligned herbs and such, so there are some parallels there.
The best part of what I do is: that I get to do something positive. Chef life can be pretty self congratulatory. I feel like what we are doing at Clover is giving a little back to the community. It’s sneaky but we trick people into eating healthy. I’ve watched staff members transform their bodies from their exposure to what we do, and it’s really gratifying.
Who is someone that inspires you in the restaurant world?
Thomas Keller and Dan Barber. There are many many great chefs that I admire both known and unknown but I feel like with these two there is a little more method to the madness. Thomas Keller really was a pioneer in the elevation of produce and product sourcing in American restaurant.
The best thing I’ve ever eaten: It’s between Joel Robuchon’s salad pomme de terre and the crispy tripe tacos my friend Ben took me for in L.A. recently. They came from a truck and were amazing.
Where do you seek inspiration for the restaurant?
Mostly from my own head. I just think of what ingredients are really good at that time of year, and what I can do with them that is good for you and that people will really want to eat. Then I make it taste good. This is heresy but I think Instagram is pushing chefs in a really positive way. I follow a ton of wellness people out there and they really keep me up to date with what is going on in the wellness community. I’m mostly sequestered in the kitchen so it’s hard to stay informed.
Favorite flavor: Curry has the amazing quality to make whatever is in it incredible as long as the curry is good. There is no such thing as “spicy enough” and I do enjoy the coconut milk spiked variety.
I’m 10 times more productive when… I’m busy. Its really why I’m a chef in many ways. The pace of the kitchen is chaotic and it keeps me on point.
Poached Farm Eggs on Spaghetti Squash Latkes with Bearnaise Vinaigrette
- 6 pasture-raised or organic eggs
For the Latke:
- 1 spaghetti squash
- 2 cups sprouted spelt flour
- 1 cup chia seeds
- 1 medium onion, chopped fine
- 3 teaspoons dill, chopped
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- Ground black pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Cut spaghetti squash in half and poke fork holes all over the skin side.
2. Season inside of squash with salt and pepper. Place cut side down in a baking pan filled with 1-2 inches of water. Cover pan with tin foil and bake for 30 minutes.
3. When cool, use a fork to remove the squash pulp. Break it up so it's in individual strands and not too clumpy. Combine all ingredients with squash and mix well.
4. In a large saute pan, heat avocado oil (about ¼” deep) on medium heat. Drop dollops of the batter into oil. If they don’t bubble immediately remove and increase heat. Cook on both sides until golden brown.
For the Béarnaise Vinaigrette:
- 2 shallots, chopped fine
- 1 teaspoon cracked black peppercorn
- ¼ cup mixed chopped herbs (tarragon, dill, parsley, chive)
- ½ cup red wine vinegar
- 3 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
In a small sauce pan, combine the peppercorn the chopped shallots and the vinegar. Simmer on low heat until the vinegar is completely dried up. Allow to cool and then add extra virgin olive oil and the chopped herbs. To serve, place a poached egg on each of the latkes and cover with the vinaigrette.
Sweet Potato Waffles with Granola, Berries and Coconut Cream
For the waffles:
- 2 cups chickpea flour
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ cup sweet potato puree (baked sweet potato blended in a food processor)
- 1 cup almond milk (homemade preferred)
- 2 tablespoons warm coconut oil
- ½ cup kale, chopped
- 2 eggs, separated
- ½ teaspoon salt
Mix dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk egg whites to stiff peaks. In a blender mix sweet potato puree, egg yolks, honey, almond milk. Drizzle in warm coconut oil while blending. Stir egg mixture into flour mixture. Fold in chopped kale. Fold in egg whites. Cook following the instructions for your waffle iron. Pour syrup onto a plate large enough to fit waffle or pieces of waffle if you cut in quarters.
For the coconut whipped cream:
- 2 cans of unsweetened coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons raw honey or maple syrup
Place cans of coconut milk in refrigerator overnight, do not shake! Place the bowl and whisk of a stand mixer in the freezer. Open cans and separate solids. Combine coconut milk solids and honey and whip in a stand mixer with whisk attachment or by hand until the consistency of whipped cream.
To serve, top waffle with your favorite chopped granola and garnish with fresh fruit and a dollop of whipped coconut milk. Serve with warm maple syrup.
Salad Nicoise with Hemp Seed Basil Vinaigrette
- 6 cups organic mixed greens
- 4 cups roasted beets
- ½ pound haricot verts blanched, or raw if you prefer
- 1 cup pitted nicoise olives
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes halved or tomato wedges
- 8 eggs, boiled for 8 minutes and peeled
- 2 cans of preserved tuna in oil
For the basil hemp seed vinaigrette:
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- ½ cup shelled raw hemp seeds
- ¼ cup white wine vinegar
- 10 leaves basil
- 1 cup ice cubes
In a blender add mustard, hemp seeds, basil, and vinegar. Blend on medium speed until smooth. Add ice cubes a few at a time and blend until melted
To serve: toss the greens with a little of the vinaigrette. Arrange greens and vegetables in sections in the bowls. Top with tuna, eggs cut in half, and a drizzle of the dressing.