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At Graffiti Earth, Chef Jehangir Mehta Combines Sustainability & Deliciousness
New York, NY (May 2016) – At his popular East Village restaurant Graffiti, as well as in his runner-up performance on The Next Iron Chef, Jehangir Mehta made his name by juxtaposing ingredients, textures and tastes from his native India and Persian heritage with flavors from all around the globe. And at the new Graffiti Earth, he’s creating the same kinds of innovative and delicious dishes, while also doing everything he can to make the restaurant as sustainable as possible.
“Much like with Graffiti, the plant-based restaurant I opened in the East Village almost ten years ago, I’m excited to bring this approach to Tribeca,” Mehta says. “At Graffiti Earth, I will be sticking to what has always worked best for me, serving vegetable-based dishes. My focus on being more environmentally conscious will come full circle, from the ingredients we cook with to the materials used throughout the restaurant. My goal is to foster balance in all of us and showcase empathy from the causes we believe in to the ingredients we source.”
An intimate space seating 20, Graffiti Earth emphasizes sustainability in its kitchen in many ways, including giving plant-based dishes center stage while using smaller amounts of meat and seafood in ways that maximize flavor, utilizing “ugly” produce that would otherwise go to waste because of minor (and non-flavor-affecting) aesthetic flaws, and calling for underutilized seafood, like broken scallops, that can be caught without damaging ecosystems. The menu is full of sustainable proteins, healthy grains and other ingredients chosen with the ultimate goal of reducing food waste.
Graffiti Earth’s Shitake Panna Cotta with Long Pepper Squid, for example, uses one of Mehta’s favorite methods for “stretching” a small amount of animal protein. The dish relies heavily on mushrooms, which require very little water and are one of the most sustainable vegetables available to give the dish texture and richness. Shitake mushrooms take center stage in the panna cotta that’s rimmed by long peppers and marinated squid, sourced by Sea to Table. In another clever combination, Mehta’s Malbec Molé Duck with Pepper Seaweed Pasta, includes highly sustainable and nutritious seaweed, sourced by GreenWave. Korean chile seared duck breast combine in a rich and flavorful Mexican-style mole sauce enhanced with red wine.
Outside the kitchen, Mehta is committed to ensuring that everything utilized in the restaurant holds meaning from the repurposed furniture to the art adorning the walls and napkins made from renewable materials. Even so, the restaurant maintains a modern urban flair in its elegant design, befitting its Tribeca location.
Graffiti Earth will open for business on May 12. It is located at 190 Church Street in Tribeca. The restaurant will be open for dinner Tuesday through Thursday from 5:30 pm to 11 pm, and Friday and Saturday from 5:30 pm to midnight. Reservations can be made by calling 212-542-9440 or at www.graffitiearthny.com.