Craving something healthy and light through the summer season? Dig in to Luxury Attaché’s Top 5 Vegetarian Standouts.
1 Gramercy Tavern
Some of the most beloved fine dining establishments, like this Danny Meyer-helmed favorite of ours, are rolling out fantastic vegetarian options to woo foodie fanatics to their tables. James Beard Award winning chef Michael Anthony didn't stop at one or two veggie-based dishes, however, and instead created a 6-course vegetarian tasting menu that is not to be missed. Light and bright plates like ember roasted beets with pickled plums, and a warm vegetable salad with bok choy and radishes, are complemented by richer, sweet indulgences like chocolate pecan coconut cake with homemade butter pecan ice cream.
2 ABC Kitchen
Still considered to be one of NYC's hottest of hot spots, John-George Vongerichten's seasonally-charged shared plates mecca is a feast for vegetarians. What really has us excited are the unforgettable preparations featured in the restaurant's market table selections. Unique standouts include herb-laden sunchokes with hazelnuts, roasted kabocha squash toast with fresh ricotta and apple cider vinegar, roasted beets with homemade yogurt and the slightly acidic mushroom and celery leaf salad. It doesn't stop there, however, as Vongerichten excites diners with chewy-meets-crispy whole wheat pizzas with toppings so good there’s not even a chance to miss the meat--our favorite is piled high with mushrooms, parmesan, oregano and a farm fresh egg.
3 Del Posto
Internationally renowned Chef Mario Batali has begun promoting healthy living by joining the Meatless Monday movement, adding outstanding vegetarian options to weekly menus at all of his Manhattan-based restaurants. Our pick? None other than his Italian fine dining gem, Del Posto. This was a no brainer to include in our list of Top 5 most luxurious vegetarian options as pastas like ricotta and egg yolk gnudi with shaved asparagus--served in the old world Italian bird's nest style--have us licking our lips. Lilting piano trills, an undeniably romantic atmosphere and top-notch service keep us coming back time and time again.
4 The Marrow
It's a bit ironic that this vegetarian standout comes from what is perhaps the most meat-centric newcomer to the gastronomic scene. However, given Top Chef winner Harold Dieterle’s delicate and picture perfect presentation of this fiddlehead fern gnudi dish, any doubt that he knows just as much, if not more, about the seasonal vegetable bounty as he does of sausage and chops is immediately erased. This elusive toothsome curlicue-shaped green is only grown for a quick stint in springtime, and along with tender English peas and shaved ribbons of radish, it is truly the star of the show. Dieterle further combines more substantive, rich ingredients like emulsified butter sauce and salty shavings of fresh pecorino to boost the pillowy soft pasta’s flavor profile and present a vegetarian dish not to be missed. Hungry for more? Other incredible vegetarian-friendly dishes include the whole roasted Hen of the Woods mushroom entree or delightfully seasonal sunchokes with brown butter truffle sauce.
5 Mission Chinese Food
There is no sign of slowing down for Chef Danny Bowien, especially as his Szechuan hot spot is still one of the most coveted tables in NYC. While inventive meat-heavy mains like thrice-cooked bacon and kung pao pastrami are crowd-pleasers and veritable palate stunners, vegetarians are well taken care of with bright, spicy bites like Mongolian longbeans and chilled buckwheat noodles. The true standout here is this deeply flavored braised pea green soup, nuanced with fermented chili, Old Bay and peanut flavors, that catapults a typically unobtrusive vegetable, the pea green, into an atmosphere of its own. This seasonal dish also features plump chunks of kabocha squash and nutty adzuki beans, making for a robust, slightly spicy, truly tasty vegetarian plate.