For all those not entirely monopolized by the elaborate wooden play structure ringing its walls, the new downtown eatery Forest on First offers plant-heavy breakfast, lunch and snacks in the mode of upscale home-cooking. The H&H Co.’s latest offering, at 129 First St., boasts a menu of fresh-pressed juices and smoothies and offers take-home “Family Fare” dinners of locally raised roast chicken, potatoes, salad and seasonal vegetables on the side.
“We’re taking stuff we like to eat – old classics – and twisting them a little bit,” chef Tyler Morrish explained, describing an olive-oil-poached Tuna Conserva inspired by the familiar tuna melt.
Watch for his house-made sauces, sodas, cheeses and sweets on the menu.
“My whole philosophy is, there’s no reason to order stuff when you can make it,” Morrish said.
He uses himself as a test subject for new projects like a bespoke protein powder of hemp, flax and chia seeds added to smoothies like the Green Kiwi (kale, banana, kiwi, coconut milk). Slimming down for an upcoming wedding, Morrish wanted to find a cure for daytime “munchiness” and found that a subtle dose of the ground seeds was a “simple little addition that you’re not going to taste, but it will help fill that void.”
When not practicing restraint, diners can dig into pastries like the olive oil, polenta and pistachio muffin Morrish bakes using a refigured cake recipe, and griddled English muffins in the plump, crumpetlike style of the U.K. The sticky buns derive from the doughnut-like Italian “zeppole” pastry, spread with powdered sugar, butter and cinnamon, rolled up and baked topped with pecans.
The sweets case caters to all ages, with a special featuring triflelike layers of pretzels mounded with whipped cream and mascarpone cheese, topped with red strawberry Jell-O. Morrish’s grandma is to thank for the “Strawberry Surprise” that joins macaroni and cheese, peanut butter and jelly empanadas and spaghetti on the children’s menu.
Spring vegetables like asparagus are already crossing the counter at Forest, and Morrish noted that the season will be quick this year, due to the warm winter. He visited a farm last week to discuss a partnership in which Forest buys its vegetables and then returns juicing compost for the next season’s soil.
Forest on First is open 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
For more information, visit forestonfirst.com.