It’s easy to overdo it in this city. Sometimes that includes a banana costume and a court citation--and sometimes it just means a hangover. But whatever you’ve done this time, you can always try and wash it away with a Juice Detox. So, with plenty of my own misdeeds to erase, I set out this week to find the best Juice Detox in New York City.
Juice Generation: This is the Pleasantville of juice bars. Handsome lighting, spotless interior, careful stacks of colorful fruit behind the counter. The doe-eyed countermen knew all of the regulars and were cooing over one of their babies when I walked in. Later, a NYC cop (the kind who poses for charity underwear calendars) parked outside and ordered a smoothie. Gee-golly, what a swell spot!
The Juice: My goal was to order the healthiest-looking, most nutritionally varied juice at each place--so the one I got here was the “Supa Dupa Green” (spinach, kale, romaine, parsley, cucumber, celery, lemon and apple). It comes out a luxurious algae-green, and tastes light and sweet, with the apple covering up the funkier aspects of the green stuff. The website says nothing of organic or local produce, and the staff didn’t know either, so your detox drink could possibly give you cancer some day. Or it might not. Either way it’s pretty tasty.
171 W 4th St.; 212-242-0440
Organic Avenue: The spartan decor of this hip juice shop--a single cooler stocked with bottles of their juices, and a lonely shelf of powders--screams money laundering to me. But all my fears of organized crime evaporated when the floaty countergirl stared at the very depths of my soul and asked me if i would spend my life with her. Or maybe she asked if i had any questions. I can’t really remember.
The Juice: These guys are intense when it comes to their juices. For one, they are made from all-organic, raw, and unpasteurized ingredients. They even use alkaline (high pH) water in all of their drinks, because they say it removes toxins from the body (snake-oil, anyone?). The juice I got was the Veggie Vibe (cucumber, parsley, spinach, celery, Swiss chard, lemon, carrot, beet and ginger). It’s a ruddy orange color, and it tastes silky, sweet, and perfectly balanced between healthy and yummy. You drink it, and it feels naughty--like: “why am I enjoying this? There are carrots in here.”
156 Sullivan St.; 212-358-0500
Liquiteria: If you don’t have the money for a dominatrix, but you still want to be yelled at, feel suffocated, and leave feeling vaguely ashamed, come here! The space is airy and bright, but the vibe is frantic--multiple juicers groaning and hissing, and overzealous countermen shouting over it for your order.
The Juice: I got the Grasshopper here, (apple, pear, pineapple, wheatgrass, and mint). I was expecting a liquid Thin Mint. It was not a Thin Mint. In fact, instead of tasting it, just go out, put five sugar packets in your mouth, then a handful of grass, and then top it off with a couple pieces of spearmint gum: treacly yet vegetal. Not my fave. I’d give more of their other juices a try if going in to order didn’t feel like being 13 again.
170 2nd Ave.; 212-358-0300
Jus @ The Coffeeshop: It’s not so much a juice bar as it is a shack. It’s literally tacked onto the exterior of The Coffeeshop Restaurant in Union Square, and it’s basically a cubicle with a big yellow sign inside boasting wild juice categories such as “Sex Power” and “Liver Tonic.” (?!?) The cleanliness leaves something to be desired, but you can’t really blame the guy: there’s only one of him and ten of us in line, and he’s moving fast as a jackrabbit.
The Juice: This place certainly has simplicity on its side----every juice here has four ingredients, maximum (if you ignore the freakish jars of Creatine on the counter). I got the #9 (apple, carrot, kale). The carrots were huge, and looked like they contained about five percent of their original genetic make-up--crunchies and healthies beware!!--but the juice wasn’t bad. Plus it was really cheap ($4), fast, and I got to go sip it and watch the cuties and the crazies at Union Square.
29 Union Sq. W.; 212-243-7969
Lifethyme Natural Market: This juice bar is totally hidden from the public, nestled in the back of the Lifethyme health food store (go past the awesome organic salad bar, and turn left). Everyone who works here is crazy-friendly, and the regulars even stick around and chat with the juicers like they’re bartenders. So if you’re on the wagon at the moment, but you miss human interaction, here’s your place!
The Juice: I got the Cleansing Cocktail (wheatgrass, carrot, apple, celery and beet--all organic), and it came out blood-red, with a bright magenta froth on top. Then they dunk a big shot of wheatgrass in. The beets and the apple make this drink sweet like soda-pop. With the wheatgrass it takes some getting used to, but it tastes exactly like what it is: a death sentence to a hangover. Plus, you can take your juice and try to piece together your night in the impossibly peaceful Jefferson Market Garden across the street.
410 6th Ave.; 212-420-9099
And the winner is. . . Organic Avenue! These guys are passionate about their ingredients, they preach and practice sustainability, and their juices are freaking delicious. Most of their juices are $10, and they’re not big--eep! But you get $2 back on every glass bottle you return, so they’re really only $8, which makes them just a couple more bucks more than most of the competition, and infinitely more tasty.
Taking it to the next step: If you want to get even crazier about juices, Organic Avenue, Liquiteria, and the man who started Juice Generation all do “Juice Cleanse” programs. Check them out: