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ABC Kitchen

photo by Reimy Gonzalez

As the green movement hit a fever pitch at the end of the 2000s, fine-dining impresario Jean-Georges Vongerichten tapped longtime lieutenant and Union Square Hospitality Group vet Dan Kluger to run ABC Kitchen, his market-driven, eco-conscious restaurant just north of the fabled Union Square Greenmarket. Right as words like “seasonal” and “local” threatened to lose their meaning, this chicly appointed restaurant attached to home-goods titan ABC Carpet & Home helped reinvigorate the ideals of championing sustainable, localized, and often organic agriculture. Maybe that’s why Vongerichten and co. can get away with serving a $20 veggie burger (it doubles as the city’s most expensive falafel). Tucked into house-made, whole-wheat pita and slathered in herb-spiked minted yogurt, it exemplifies the restaurant’s ethos. The chef has a horse-whisperer’s way with produce, which helped him snag a Best New Restaurant James Beard Award the year the restaurant opened. You’ll want to pair your meal with something from the impressive wine list, which features, of course, biodynamic and sustainable varietals.