Honest Plate Finds a New Home in Hampton Bays - 27 East

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Honest Plate Finds a New Home in Hampton Bays

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Chefs Jon Albrecht and Nick Reisini , co-owners of Honest Plate, in their Hampton Bays space with an order ready for delivery. ANNETTE HINKLE

Chefs Jon Albrecht and Nick Reisini , co-owners of Honest Plate, in their Hampton Bays space with an order ready for delivery. ANNETTE HINKLE

Honest Plate's curried chicken salad wrap. ANNETTE HINKLE

Honest Plate's curried chicken salad wrap. ANNETTE HINKLE

Honest Plate's curry chicken wrap and salad. ANNETTE HINKLE

Honest Plate's curry chicken wrap and salad. ANNETTE HINKLE

The outdoor deck at Honest Plate set up for a cooking class. JON ALBRECHT

The outdoor deck at Honest Plate set up for a cooking class. JON ALBRECHT

The outdoor deck at Honest Plate set up for a cooking class. JON ALBRECHT

The outdoor deck at Honest Plate set up for a cooking class. JON ALBRECHT

Honest Plate's Mushroom Meatballs with lemon pepper coconut yogurt, pickled onion and
cilantro oil. NICK REISINI

Honest Plate's Mushroom Meatballs with lemon pepper coconut yogurt, pickled onion and cilantro oil. NICK REISINI

Chef Jon Albrecht, co-owner of Honest Plate, emerges from the prep area as an order gets ready for delivery. ANNETTE HINKLE

Chef Jon Albrecht, co-owner of Honest Plate, emerges from the prep area as an order gets ready for delivery. ANNETTE HINKLE

authorAnnette Hinkle on Mar 22, 2023

Chefs Nick Reisini and Jon Albrecht, co-owners of the meal delivery service Honest Plate, set out to start their business in January 2020, partially by offering group cooking classes. This was, of course, not long before the pandemic would settle in and change life for us all.

“It was almost serendipitous,” said Reisini. “Cooking classes were going well, then we started doing the home delivery.”

Albrecht comes to this venture with over 30 years of food experience on the East End. He began his career locally at the Old Post House Inn in Southampton, and, later, became executive chef at Tutto Il Giorno in Sag Harbor. That’s where Reisini, a graduate of the French Culinary Institute, met Albrecht before being tapped himself to take on the executive chef role at Dopo La Spiaggia when it opened its doors in East Hampton.

But three years ago this month, as many food-based businesses struggled to find their footing and adapt to COVID-19 restrictions and shutdowns, as the owners of Honest Plate Reisini and Albrecht, conversely, watched their fledging food venture take off — largely because what they were doing melded perfectly with social distancing and diners’ desire to eat at home.

Honest Plate is a meal service that brings healthy, vegetable-forward dishes to the doorsteps of clients across the region. Last summer, Reisini and Albrecht, who previously offered their cooking classes from the lower level of The Spur in Southampton, relocated to a new, light-filled second floor cooking and prep area at Hampton on the Green in Hampton Bays. It’s there that they prepare their extensive weekly menus, and soon, Reisini and Albrecht will be offering smoothies and more grab-and-go items that can be enjoyed at tables on the outdoor deck.

To be clear, Honest Plate is not a restaurant. There is no sit-down service here, and instead, each week, Reisini and Albrecht prepare a selection of fresh dishes — from soups, salads and wraps to entrees for both the vegetarians and carnivores among us. Menu items are ordered online for pick up at the Hampton Bays location or by delivery with a $50 minimum on the East End ($100 minimum beyond Long Island). Menus change weekly and the focus is on clean eating, but the chefs are always willing and able to customize offerings to a client’s wishes, tastes or health goals — be it Whole 30, Paleo, low carb, vegan or any other specific requirements.

And unlike those meal delivery services like Purple Carrot or Green Chef, Reisini and Albrecht don’t expect you to do the work.

“I think the biggest difference between what we do and what a meal prep service does is our menus are ready to heat and eat,” said Reisini. “There’s no chopping or cooking.”

Sourced locally whenever possible, with an emphasis on quality, farm grown and raised ingredients, Honest Plate’s dishes are designed to be consumed within five days. Reisini said that many clients will order a week’s worth of food at a time in order to simplify their hectic lives.

“We don’t use anything frozen and all our ingredients are completely natural and organic,” said Reisini.

“Finding organic and free range ingredients is a struggle,” admitted Albrecht. “Especially in the off season. But we prevail and try to be consistent as possible. At the end of the day, I know we’re doing the right thing.”

And speaking of the right thing, Reisini and Albrecht reduce waste in their business by packing their food in biodegradable containers and reusable glass jars, which clients wash and return in the padded coolers that are used to transport the meals.

“It’s like the modern day milkman. The customers clean the jars and leave them out for us in the cooler, we sanitize and reuse them,” Reisini said. “It’s contactless delivery. We leave their bag out front with ice and it can sit out there for a while. We have it timed pretty well.

“There’s no single client that does it a certain way,” Reisini added. “Some don’t cook a thing. A couple of them order two of everything every day so they’re supplied for the week. Others use it as a supplement for their diet when they’re trying to be healthier and it’s hard to have food ready to go.”

While the menu options change weekly and offer flavors and ingredients for a wide range of palates and dietary requirements, Reisini and Albrecht are always game to respond to customer requests.

“We have a couple people who do custom meal plans,” Reisini said. “That’s fun. I like to build it to the individual. Everything needs to be tailored to the person, whether it’s about allergies, or calorie intake, or fat and carbs.”

The same is true for Honest Plate’s cooking classes, which are offered in the new space in Hampton Bays for groups of up to 12 people at a time.

“You call and say what kind of food you want to learn about,” explained Albrecht. “Mediterranean, Ethiopian, French, anything. You pick what you want.

“I’m learning, too,” he added. ”I had a woman who wanted to learn how to make lemon grass chicken dumplings. I said, ‘Great. I’ve done it twice in my life, and I’m ready to try it again.’”

One of the chefs’ primary goals is to figure out how to make vegetable versions of some favorite meat or fish dishes.

“We make mushroom meatballs and a couple weeks ago, we came up with tofu cured with beet juice, nori and ginger,” said Reisini.

“It tasted just like tuna. A woman tried it and said she’d buy four of them,” grinned Albrecht. “How do you make mushroom taste like beef or tofu taste like tuna? That’s what’s cool.”

“We’ve really been enjoying reinventing things,” added Reisini. “Taking a dish that’s not supposed to be healthy and making it healthy.”

In terms of the customer base, Honest Plate’s delivery range is far and wide. On the East End, deliveries are made Mondays and Thursdays from Riverhead to Montauk, and on Tuesdays, deliveries head west to other parts of Long Island, as well as Westchester, New York City and even Connecticut.

“Yesterday, we delivered to New Rochelle, Greenwich and Locust Valley,” said Albrecht, who added that as the business expands, services like Grub Hub and Door Dash will be used to accomplish the local deliveries.

“We envision Honest Plate refrigerated trucks eventually,” said Reisini.

One of Honest Plate’s newest gigs is the Sag Harbor Cinema. Reisini and Albrecht recently created cocktail fare for an event offered in conjunction with a film screening there, and now, the cinema is looking to the chefs to expand the food offerings and light bites served in the Green Room Bar on the third floor.

“Sag Harbor Cinema wanted healthy options for the bar,” said Reisini. “Food that is good and easy. They’re all super excited. We’ll play it by ear and see how it goes.”

“Everybody loved the taste of our Asian veggie wrap, our edamame and lentil hummus and our charcuterie board,” said Albrecht.

“We make healthy food accessible to everybody,” said Reisini. “We’re prepping, cooking, and delivering — and now we’re getting people to understand that point.”

Learn more about Honest Plate’s menu offerings at honestplate.com. Honest Plate is located at The Hamlet Green, 105 Suite 5 West Montauk Highway, Hampton Bays.

Honest Plate Mushroom Meatball (with lemon pepper coconut yogurt, pickled onion and cilantro oil)

Meatballs:

1 pound button mushrooms

1 pound crimini mushrooms

5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1.5 cup hemp hearts

Salt to taste

Coconut Yogurt Sauce:

1 container coconut yogurt

Juice and zest from half a lemon

Black pepper and salt to taste

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Pickled Red Onion:

1 medium red onion

1 sprig thyme

2 tablespoons salt

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

5 black peppercorns, whole

½ cup water

½ cup apple cider vinegar

Cilantro Oil:

1 bunch cilantro

1 cup neutral oil

Procedure:

Meatballs:

Put a medium sauté pan to warm. Slice mushrooms. Add a tablespoon of olive oil to the pan, add mushrooms in batches just enough to coat the bottom of the pan as not to overcrowd, cook until water has come out and they have begun to caramelize (about 5 minutes). Set aside. Add the second batch until you cook through all the mushrooms. Set aside in a colander over a bowl to cool and release any residual juices.

Squeeze out mushrooms to make sure they are as dry as possible. Take the liquid put back into the sauté pan to reduce down to a syrup and add back into the mushroom mixture.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Add mushroom mix and hemp hearts in batches to a food processor and blend until smooth. Set mixture aside for about a half an hour to thicken. Roll balls to desired size. Put onto a greased sheet pan. Roast in the oven until dark brown.

Coconut yogurt sauce:

Put coconut yogurt in a mixing bowl, add lemon juice and zest, olive oil, mix. Set aside.

Pickled Red Onion:

Place a medium pot on the stove and add water, apple cider vinegar, salt and sugar. Bring to a boil.

While that’s working, slice onion as thin as possible and place in a mason jar or other heat-proof vessel. Once pickling liquid has boiled, pour over onions and add peppercorns and thyme sprig.

Cilantro Oil:

Add cilantro and oil to a blender and blend on high for 2-3 minutes until combined and steaming.

Place in a medium pot on stove and bring to a boil. As soon as it boils turn off and pour through cheesecloth and a fine strainer. You should have some gorgeous bright green and flavorful oil.

Plating:

Grab a flat plate. Place yogurt sauce on the bottom, add mushroom meatballs on top. Place pickled onion on top of the meatballs and garnish with cilantro oil and a leaf of fresh cilantro if you like.

Enjoy!!

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