Hu Kitchen is the latest health food spot in Union Square

Good-for-you food at Hu Kitchen in Union Square

A debaucherous Vegas weekend is an unlikely inspiration for a restaurant free of gluten and sugar.

But it was after one such weekend that Jordan Brown, the owner of Union Square's new Hu Kitchen, picked up a book on nutrition, sparking a journey to revamp how he (and we) eat.

His philosophy of clean, unprocessed food focuses on alternative sweeteners, fats from coconuts, seeds and nuts, and plenty of whole foods. We could enumerate what you won't find at this café and market, but we're too busy swooning over our last meal.

Sit at a polished wood table with a plate of rotisserie chicken ($7.50), its skin crackling delicately from a burnish of coconut sugar brine. Order a side of tater tots–the best in recent memory–their crisp shells yielding to a creamy spiced sweet potato center ($3.50). Mashed cauliflower, strewn with toasted buckwheat ($3.50), whispers of butter and cheese, but coconut milk provides the savory smoothness.

Dessert is a visit to the "mash bar," a healthified version of a sundae bar where we piled cacao nibs, almond butter cookie crumble and cashew cream onto a chocolate chia seed pudding ($5).

Hu Kitchen, 78 Fifth Ave. (between 13th and 14th sts.); 212-510-8919 or hukitchen.com