Gourmet Dining Can Be Healthful, Too

BY July 26, 2012

Dining out should not be a battle between nutritional good and evil. Sitting down at a favorite restaurant should be a relaxing time to enjoy the flavors of the meal, the company of good friends and the ambiance of the room. It shouldn’t be about calories and fats. And here’s the deal: It doesn’t have to be.

We had four nutritionists scour the menus of four of our favorite local restaurants to find the dishes that don’t require an extra hour on the treadmill.


Fit French: At Bleu Provence try the sesame encrusted ahi tuna with sweet pepper, tomato and goat cheese crostini. And for dessert, a little sorbet goes a long way.Bleu Provence

Betsy Opyt’s recommendations

“Most excess calories come before the meal is even served; bread, chips, crackers are often the least nutritional foods of the meal, but the foods everyone can’t put down,” says Betsy Opyt, RD, LD/N, CDE, owner of Healthy Concepts Consulting. “Ask for a salad as a starter instead of the bread. That way you will start filling up on fiber and nutrients rather than fat and carbs.”


Mixed green salad with watermelon, onions, fresh herbs and house vinaigrette (vinaigrette on the side)


Scallops on the half shell grilled a la plancha with beurre blanc sauce (dip sparingly)

Tartar of tuna and tomatoes served with pistou sauce (dip sparingly)

Pan-grilled mussels with garlic and parsley (dip sparingly)


Wild king salmon with fresh citrus vinaigrette served with spinach and roasted fingerling potatoes

Sesame encrusted ahi tuna seared a la plancha served with sweet pepper, tomato, goat cheese crostini and citrus vinaigrette


Chicken Tajine with olives and lemon served with citrus couscous


Sorbet or ice cream (small scoop)


Skinny seas: (Left) Angelina’s cozze alla puttanesca (Right) bruschetta di tonno from Angelina’s RistoranteAngelina’s Ristorante

Elaine Hastings’ recommendations

“Always ask for butter, margarine, salad dressing, mayo, gravies or high-fat sauces on the side,” says Elaine Hastings, RD, LD/N, CSSD, co-owner of Associates in Nutrition Consultants. “This way you—not the chef—control how much fat you’re going to add to your meal.”


Mediterranean olives

Cozze alla puttanesca

Bruschetta di tonno


Insalata di Angelina (hold the goat cheese and substitute mozzarella)

CONTORNI (as an entrée)

Add your favorite vegetables or grilled chicken to one of the following:

Spaghettine aglio, olio e peroncini

Bucatini al pomodoro e basilico

Prima Piatti

Dentice sotto sale, per due



Petit portions: Go with a smaller protein, such as the petit filet at Chop’s City Grill, so you don’t have to skip your favorite foods.Chops City Grill

Karen Eastman’s recommendations

“Skip the protein at breakfast and enjoy oatmeal with low-fat milk, light yogurt or whole-grain cereal with fruit,” says Karen Eastman, RD, LD/N, co-owner of Personalized Nutrition. “Then opt for a meatless meal at lunch in order to accommodate the seven-ounce protein serving of steak.”


Spicy beef pot stickers

Beef carpaccio

Raw bar (choose any, they are all low calorie)

As a meal, partner one of the following with a small house salad:

Tuna tataki

Colossal crab cocktail

Tuna chop


Organic greens (no croutons, low-fat dressing on the side)

City style or watermelon “chunk” salad (ask for the cheese on the side, and add one teaspoon to control the fat calories, low fat dressing on the side)


Petite filet (seven ounce)


(choose any, watch the complement sides)

A peppercorn-encrusted option is available with steak or seafood entree. Bold flavors cause us to eat less and be satisfied more quickly due to the intensity of the flavor.


Cauliflower smash

Sliced beefsteak tomatoes (olive oil on the side)

Fresh steamed broccoli


Steak house “wild” mushrooms (hold the cream sauce)



Seafood is a good choice at many restaurants. Halibut over summer vegetables with English pea sauce and roasted tomato butter at Truluck’s.Truluck’s

Bonnie Masterson’s recommendations

“If you drink alcohol, alternate every drink with two large glasses of water or seltzer,” says Bonnie Masterson, MS, RD, LD, CDE, co-owner Personalized Nutrition Inc.


Featured oyster

Baja ceviche

Shrimp cocktail


Tomato and watermelon gazpacho with blue crab

Crab and shrimp stacked salad with smoked tomato vinaigrette (on the side)

Hothouse tomato salad (ask for low-fat dressing on the side)

Sonoma greens salad (ask for low-fat dressing on the side)


Center-cut filet, seven ounces

Roasted Tanglewood Farms chicken breast


Choose any of the fish, grilled with a small amount of oil, keeping in mind you may be able to eat about half the potatoes or rice.


Ask for sauces on the side and steamed vegetables

Pan-seared halibut over summer vegetables with English pea sauce and roasted tomato butter

Viking village sea scallops served with truffled corn sauce, roasted fingerling potatoes and green beans

Crab-crusted Norwegian whitefish broiled and served with lemon-garlic butter and green beans amandine


Any crab claws or lobster without butter sauce

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