Rockaway Smoothie Shack La Fruteria Now Has An Excellent New Vegan Menu


The final time I attempted chef Donata Orsi’s meals out at Rockaway Seaside it was someday throughout that blissful pre-pandemic summer season of 2019, at Thank You, the nice cafe from Andrew Fields and Maribel Araujo. Orsi, who grew up in Tuscany, had beforehand labored with Yotam Ottolenghi in London, and Michael Anthony at Untitled right here in NYC, and introduced some critical chops to Seaside 116th, with an over-performing menu of easy breakfast, lunch, and dinner dishes made terribly effectively.

Thank You did not survive COVID (Fields and Araujo shuttered the place final December, although they’re nonetheless operating Tacoway Seaside and Caracas Arepas, respectively), however this summer season Orsi has a gig on the juice-and-smoothie stalwart La Fruteria, bringing the Seaside 97 concession crowd a brand new menu of sandwiches, salads, noodle bowls, and different delights. Every little thing is vegan or vegetarian, and all superb.

The dishes are a bit improvised, as Orsi usually sticks to the elements already readily available for La Fruteria’s smoothies and such–kale, beets, carrots, apples, and avocados all make appearances–but you might be in exceptionally competent arms. It is like in the event you visited a good friend’s home, and so they mentioned “Oh, you are hungry? I will simply whip one thing up for you from stuff I’ve within the fridge,” and it turned out to be superb.

The Kale Salad, for instance, might not sound so thrilling, however throw in some beets, apples, and scallions, toss all of it with a tangy do-it-yourself tahini dressing, and–key ingredient alert–top it off with a bunch of corn nuts, and in some way you might have probably the greatest bowls of greens on the town. Identical for Orsi’s Chilly Noodles, to which she provides the precise correct quantity of lime on prime of the peanut sauce, and out of the blue the usually-weighty dish is energetic and vivid.

The sandwiches additionally all appear to have an surprising twist. The Beet Hummus appears fairly simple, and could be superb even when nothing else had been added, however then there’s avocado for further substance and creaminess, everything-bagel seasoning as a result of why not, and jalapeno for a welcome kick.

The Frittata Sandwich (the one non-vegan choice) takes Orsi’s already wonderful eggs, right here filled with caramelized onion, after which livens up the celebration with pickles and spicy mayo. And the Tofu Banh Mi… effectively there’s nothing actually difficult with this one, only a large, full-flavored, satisfying sandwich. The rolls, by the best way, are from Native Bread of East Williamsburg, and so they do their job effectively. Among the cookies listed below are made by them, too.

Orsi additionally bakes, and in the event you get there early sufficient to seize one in all her gluten-free Oat Muffins filled with seasonal jam (final week, strawberry), do not miss out. These characteristic a beautiful crunchy crumb on prime, and the abundance of sticky, fruity filling makes it really feel nearly decadent. Wash all of it down with one in all La Fruteria’s smoothies, just like the Pineapple Mango one pictured right here, and you’ve got a hearty, scrumptious breakfast certainly.

By the best way, Orsi is returning to Tuscany within the fall, so this might be our final likelihood for some time to get correctly fed by this proficient chef. If 97th is close to your common spot on the seashore, positively make it a precedence to cease by quickly.

fruiteria ordering counter


Scott Lynch / Gothamist

La Fruteria is positioned on the Seaside 97th Avenue concessions on the Rockaway Seaside boardwalk, and is presently open from 8 a.m. to six p.m. on weekdays, and from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on the weekends (347-721-4610; @lafruterianyc)