I spent a couple of days in NYC last week, on my way back from a whirlwind trip to Istanbul. I'll save Istanbul for another post, but this trip to NYC was interesting because I had two great meals at non-vegan restaurants, and one really disappointing meal at a vegan restaurant I'd been looking forward to trying for a long time.
And it actually makes me wonder: Do I write an honest review here of a pretty well-known vegan place and possibly discourage people from going? It was but a week post-Hurrican Sandy, and given the site is in the East Village they likely still had logistical issues. They were also super-cool, because when they noticed I hadn't really eaten my entree they not only asked me if I didn't like it, but they took it off my bill. I'd like to think I had a fluke experience. But I also know I probably won't go back. I'm not a professional restaurant reviewer. I'm not writing this for the column I used to have where I did do restaurant reviews. I'm just an enthusiastic vegan evangelist. What would you do?
While I ponder whether or not to write about the not-so-good experience, I will tell you about one of the two wonderful meals I had at non-vegan restaurants this week.
The first such meal was at db Bistro Moderne, owned by famed chef Daniel Boulud. It's midtown in a fairly unremarkable location. But my salad qualified as remarkable. First take a look at two pictures of the adorable presentation:
What you might not quite be able to see is the dark crumbly "soil" at the bottom of the plate. It's made from dried, roughly ground olives. Seriously. So awesome to add a bit of crunch and salt to the dish. And with all the veggies standing up in it, it was like a little garden in my plate. (I should note that the item on the menu includes goat cheese, but it was easy for them to serve without it.)
I then had a lovely pappardelle pasta porcini, also sans cheese:
And, my lunch companion and I couldn't resist sharing a side of brussels sprouts (made in oil, not butter), which arrived in an adorable little pot:
db Bistro Moderne is on W. 44th St, between 5th and 6th Avenues (closer to 6th), tucked next to the City Club Hotel. Having just stayed at the City Club, can't say I'd recommend it for lodging, but I can definitely recommend db Moderne for a nice lunch...and a flexible open mind for serving vegans!