Thursday, July 4, 2013

New York, New York (June 2013)

New York is one of those places where I have no problem eating at restaurants that are exclusively vegetarian or even vegan because, unlike in many cities, such restaurants in New York are not second class.  On past trips, I have had excellent meals at upscale places like Blossom (Chelsea), Hangawi (Koreatown), and Gobo (West Village).

On my trip this month, I continued to enjoy delicious meals at two other first-class restaurants, both vegan.  At Candle 79 (Upper East Side), I celebrated a special occasion, and received superb service, including the complimentary black rice and vegetable amuse-bouche pictured below to get the taste buds going, and a homemade raspberry sorbet for dessert.

Complimentary amuse-bouche with black rice and vegetables

Fried dumplings with seitan, baby bok choy, and sesame-ginger soy sauce

Chili-grilled tofu with quinoa pilaf, sauteed chard and zucchini, avocado-radish salad, and corn sauce

Caribbean jerk-grilled seitan with collard greens and carmelized onions, plantains, black-bean rum sauce, pineapple-mango salsa, habanero-chili coulis

I also enjoyed my meal at Franchia (Midtown East), a Pan-Asian eatery with an extensive menu, and the sister restaurant of Hangawi in nearby Koreatown.

Crispy scallion pancakes

Tapas trio - spicy vegan "crab" cakes, vegetable dim sum buns, and crispy seaweed rolls

Kale and brown rice noodles with black bean sauce and fried tofu balls

I also had tasty meals at two more casual restaurants that are not exclusively vegetarian, but offer plenty of veg-friendly dishes.  Brick Lane Curry House (East Village), serves English-Indian cuisine.  Like most Indian restaurants, the menu includes a section listing several, protein-rich vegetarian entrees.  I stuck with the basics - lentils and garbanzo beans!

Complimentary papadam with three chutneys

Peeli dal (yellow lentils flavored with garlic and herbs)

Chana masala (garbanzo beans with tomatoes, onions, and spices)

Finally, Ladino Tapas Bar and Grill (Columbus Circle) is one of those places that you will find only in New York -- a kosher Latin-fusion restaurant.  The food at this festive place is quite tasty, and a bit pricey -- but you are paying for peace of mind in knowing that everything is "Glatt Kosher" certified.  This is great not only for the observant Jews, but also for vegans.  As explained on the website:

The tapas were quite good.  Unfortunately, they were out of the mushroom empanadas, which was the main item on the menu that I wanted to try, but I left quite satisfied with the other dishes, especially the black bean soup with "tofu sour cream." 

Black bean soup topped with tofu sour cream, pico de gallo, and guacamole

Candle 79 on Urbanspoon

Franchia on Urbanspoon

Brick Lane Curry House on Urbanspoon

Ladino Tapas Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon