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Cafe Red Point shows healthy play in Lincoln Center 

Appetite

click to enlarge The simple, light Mediterranean chicken salad. - RILEY BRATZLER
  • Riley Bratzler
  • The simple, light Mediterranean chicken salad.

It's not until my third visit that I finally score a vacant seat in one of the Yogibo Fly personal hammocks strung from Cafe Red Point's ceiling. So I briefly lounge on the artificial turf "hill" built into the wall in one corner, before retiring to retro-chic chairs that help compose the stylish, playful decor. Thanks to local outfits Echo Architecture and Deis Designs, wavy wood panels in the ceiling evoke clouds; polished Black Forest burn wood stumps scattered around the turf create a grown-up day-care playroom vibe; and a long bench seat and community table invite open banter in the bright space.

Lincoln Center's newest food-and-drink inhabitant (joining Building3, plus Nightingale Bread soonish, and Goat Patch Brewing next year) makes the perfect snack bar for neighboring CrossFit SoCo, in that gym rats can pre-order for post-workout grab-and-go. Plus most Red Point offerings categorize as paleo grub, even though owner Dan Fuhr — a former Army civil affairs officer and tall, muscular, but soft-spoken, welcoming and attentive guy — says he's really just aiming for whole-food-based, healthier fare, which incorporates good fats and protein options (plus eco-friendly compostable tablewares).

Eggs, bones (for bone broth) and chicken come via Ranch Foods Direct, most fruit is organic, and dairy-free chocolate's procured from Equal Exchange. Building3's beans inform coffee drinks distinguished from those next door by inputs like butter and coconut oil, both of which slick the top of Red Point's hearty Norwand Coffee. And both again appear in the potent, bright yellow Power Tea, a mix of black, green and yerba mate leaves also spiked with ginger and turmeric (revered for anti-inflammatory properties).

Mountaineering-themed names (Fuhr's a hobbyist climber) continue with the Foehnsturm smoothie, a rich blend of cold-brew coffee, coconut oil, almond milk, chocolate and cashews. Vega or Gnarly Nutrition vegan proteins or Vital Proteins collagen peptides can be added to any beverage for a reasonable cost; my Foehnsturm with the latter only hits $6. Even pricey maca powder only adds a buck to my Green Machine, a biting, ginger-leading purée of spinach, kale, lime, pineapple and honey. The sweet and delightful Tropical Thunder also opts for pineapple and lime citrus backbone in coconut water, thickened with banana and cashews. For a lavish liquid dessert, ask for an off-menu chocolate chip cookie smoothie, made by tossing gluten-free almond flour cookies into almond milk with vanilla whey protein, almond butter and extra chocolate chips.

But Red Point's not just a place to suck straw, and the eats follow suit with health-mindedness not afraid of some sugar at turns. For light lunch get the $9, oil-and-vinegar-dressed California or Mediterranean chicken salads, with baked and panini pressed breasts. Raisins sweeten the first; an underlying quinoa bed's a bit dry on the second, enlivened by olives and cucumbers. Breakfast looks like a simple quinoa bowl with nuts, bitter cacao nibs and maple syrup, or the killer gluten-free paleo waffle, made with an apple, banana and almond butter batter with arrowroot flour — get nut butter on top and maple, and Fuhr will hand you a whipped cream cannister too. Sweet offerings continue into a Hawaii-popularized, granola-topped açai bowl or chia "rice" pudding, laced with cardamom and nutmeg and generously dusted in cinnamon.

Though this all may sound like a health food store explosion of trendy "superfood" ingredients, it lands less hippy-dippy and more adventure hub-ish. And the clean flavors are spot on. This much design sense doesn't go into a dud.

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