Eat Clean

Healthy Hedonism

BY July 1, 2022
The Continental light lunch
(Courtesy The Continental)

It’s common to see nutritional information printed on menus at chain restaurants and casual, health-focused cafes. But fine-dining restaurants—where butter, cream and richly marbled steaks are ubiquitous—rarely tout calorie counts. Naples’ The Continental is breaking that mold, giving calorie-conscious cuisine a decadent, fine-dining revamp. When the Third Street South restaurant relaunched its lunch last fall after a two-year hiatus, the menu included an American Spa section, with all six dishes measuring less than 750 calories. “We wanted to reinvent the menu to keep you light on your feet so you could get back to your day without feeling weighed down,” general manager Craig Stuck says. “We also did not want to make any sacrifices on decadence or flavor.”

To find a balance of health and indulgence, The Continental employs luxury ingredients, like lobster, but instead of dressing it with mayonnaise or drawn butter, they pair it with a composed salad of milky burrata, pickled eggplant and nutrient-rich mâche. Other dishes rely on technique to elevate flavors without excessive fats or carbohydrates. For the vegan celeriac ravioli (the menu’s lightest dish at 410 calories), the root is blanched, then shaved into translucent slices that act like fresh pasta, encasing silky mushroom duxelles, finished with red-wine syrup. “You will see some dishes come and go to keep the menu exciting,” Stuck says, adding that the spa menu has developed a dedicated following. “We’re looking for a full experience, rather than having it be about calorie counting.”

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