Despite being a city prime for carnivores, New York has its fair share of meatless options. And while a full-on vegetarian and vegan restaurant may be heaven for those of us who eschew meat, it makes dining with omnivores tricky. At traditional spots, non-meat eaters will cobble together a meal from salads and sides, without a viable option as a main course. Fortunately, lately it seems that vegan options (not just meatless, but dishes made without any animal products) are on the menu at a handful of great eateries around town. Here’s a roundup of spots where vegans, carnivores, herbivores, omnivores and flexitarians can all find something on the menu.
Grape & Vine
Jade Hotel, 52 W. 13th St. 212-375-1300
Tucked into the quaint Greenwich Village Jade Hotel is Grape & Vine, where restaurateur Frederick Lesort opted to add a vegan entrée to the dinner menu: a quinoa and rainbow Swiss chard roulade with citrus, beets and saffron oil ($26). Says Lesort, "Being French, I have been used to good food and never worried about butter, meat, fish and cream-heavy sauces. Only in the last few years have I started to consider alternatives and see the growing interest of our clients towards vegetarian and vegan fare. I have finally decided to venture to vegetarian and vegan restaurants and loved it."
Thistle Hill Tavern
441 Seventh Ave., Brooklyn, 347-599-1262
The former "Top Chef" contestant at the helm of this Park Slope eatery loves his meat, and it shows in his menu. But Dale Talde also offers a surprise addition to his dinner and brunch menu: a vegan burger made with white bean, cracked wheat and mushroom, served on a potato roll with salt and pepper French fries ($13) that is sure to keep non-meat eaters feeling included and happy. “I created the vegan burger because I didn’t want anyone to feel out of place here,” Talde says. “We spent time developing the recipe because we don’t want to have anything on the menu by default. We air-dry the patties before we sear them to create a great crisp sear.”
12 W. 21st St., 212-388-5736
At this spacious modern Japanese Flatiron spot, Sen offers a vegan roll: the Pink Monk ($12). Made with soy paper, seasoned hijiki (a sea vegetable), kampyo (a type of gourd), daikon, avocado, asparagus, shitake and micro greens, this pretty pink roll is a welcome change from the typical cucumber and veggie rolls. Out of the city, the same roll is offered at their Sag Harbor location.
More vegan dishes… and a food truck!
North End Grill
104 N. End Ave., 646-747-1600
At this Battery Park City newcomer, chef Floyd Cardoz makes the most of his wood-burning grills for his meat dishes, but his plancha entrée – a fricassee of wild mushrooms with “upma polenta” ($26) – is strictly vegan. “I believe that you can get a lot more flavor and texture out of vegetables and vegetable product, and it doesn’t have to be animal product to taste delicious. At North End Grill we have a farm on our rooftop where we’re sourcing vegetables, fruits and herbs for our menu that are very fresh and truly highlight the sweetness and acidity and nutritive value of fresh produce. When I am cooking something I don’t even consider the limitations of veganism; I take it more as making something delicious and it always works out.”
Brooklyn Central Pizza
289 Fifth Ave., Brooklyn, 347-725-4891
Brooklyn Central Pizza has a vegan pizza, the Red Hook, made with tomato sauce, artichokes, peppers, mushrooms and scallions ($15).
Colicchio & Sons
85 Tenth Ave., 212-400-6699
In the main dining room on the main course menu, among duck, pork and sirloin offerings, vegans will be pleased to find the crispy pea cake, served with citrus braised endive, broccoli, avocado and seaweed ($28).
17 Putnam Ave., Brooklyn, 718-230-3471
Chef/owner Samuel Beket created a veggie taco brimming with marinated crispy seitan, bean sprout salad, guacamole, tofu pico de gallo and soy cheese ($15).
780 Lexington Ave., 212-207-8375
The cupcake favorite has their own take on the red velvet in which all of the traditional dairy products are substituted with vegan-friendly ingredients, including soy milk, tofu-based cream cheese and pure coconut oil. Look for the V on the cupcake and try to taste the difference. ($3.50 each, $39 for a dozen)
Mulberry & Vine
73 Warren St.; 212-791-6300
This recently opened healthy new grab-and-go spot in Tribeca has vegan offerings like curried freekah with cauliflower, mango and cashews ($4.50) along with tofu sliders with mushrooms, scallions and green pepper ($4.50).
Follow this vegetarian truck and check out their vegan offerings, including vegan donuts, raw pizza and blue corn pancakes. Find them at www.cinnamonsnail.com.