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Josie’s East: All the Single Ladies

Josie’s is a funny sort of place. It occupies an interesting niche in Murray Hill. The healthy dinner spot on 3rd Avenue caters almost exclusively to the young, weight-conscious, and well-heeled female population of Murray Hill. In the numerous times I’ve eaten here, whether just picking up grub for myself or with friends (always female), I think I’ve only seen a man once (I kid you not).

The vibe is relaxed and serene with a cool contemporary look, calming music, and quiet conversation. Josie’s, despite the rushed whisper-like chatter of waifish girls, is the anti-thesis of clamorous. The service is decidedly mellow, often resulting in long gaps in time between seeing your waitress. Despite it’s rabid popularity in Murray Hill, Josie’s is decidedly un-Murray Hill in its eschewing of a loud fratastic environment. Don’t get me wrong – Josie’s is still very much a scene, with skinny mean girls, athletic types, and those clearly on a mission to drop a few all hobnobbing together for the ‘natural’ fare.

For the good restaurant-starved neighborhood, the food is actually pretty good. Josie’s isn’t vegan or vegetarian, it’s just more health-conscious than most eateries. Wholesome and flecked with all sorts of international inspiration, the offerings fill the belly with satisfying tweaks on Asian and American cuisine. It’s not haute cuisine nor is it uniformly delicious; however, when you’re looking for something easy and reliable, Josie’s pulls through. Expect such Asian fusion delights as Thai Chili Seared Wild Shrimp with guacamole, mango salsa, and tortillas, Ginger-Grilled Calamari, a too-good-to-be-healthy Warm Macademia-Crusted Natural Chicken salad stuffed with mango, tomatoes, avocado, orzo and cucumber, and a variety of burgers, faux burgers, pastas, and stirfries.

There’s something for everyone, whether you prefer to go veggie all the way or to eat your beef burgers healthy. Recommended dishes include the natural filet mignon medallions with truffle-infused mashed potatoes for a stunning $19.50, the organic angel hair with turkey meatballs (a satisfying twist on spaghetti and meatballs), and the chicken breast teriyaki stirfry chock-a-block with cremini mushrooms, broccolini, zucchini, and organic tamari brown rice. In light of the myriad of spectacular burger joints in New York (Zaitzeff, Old Town, Burger Burger, Five Guys), steer clear of Josie’s cardboard-like offerings.

Josie’s has its flaws (the irritatingly bird-like clientele, slow service), but it fills a necessary niche in image-conscious Murray Hill. The food is good enough to support a large group of loyal regulars, and the fast takeout makes it great for a light meal at the end of a long day. Check it out with your girlfriends for a mellow dinner out or chill out alone with a glass of white and your current read.

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