Fine dining with good veggie options.
I am going out this Saturday night with a special person and I wanted to treat her to a very nice meal. She is vegetarian and will occasionally eat fish. My first choice was the vegetable tasting menu at Gramercy Tavern. Unfortunately, at this late date they are booked. I am on the waiting list. So, What I am looking for is something of Gramercy Tavern's quality with very good vegetable options. Can any one recomend a place like that. We are seeing some Flamenco in the east village so if there is something in that neighborhood all the better though I'm willing to travel.
Devi has a nice vegetarian tasting menu. Otto is also a possibility (not for a tasting menu but for a lot of vegetarian options). I really like the vegetarian tasting menu at Aquavit - be sure to get that one with the "beverage pairings".
Let me start by saying that I am not a fan of Gramercy Tavern. I've never had a meal there (in either the Tavern or main dining room) that has wowed me. In fact, our last time there, the tasting dinner we had was totally disappointing.
I agree that when it comes to Indian cuisine, Devi offers incomparable fine dining and is especially good for vegetarians. I'm not, but http://www.devinyc.com
Here are some other possibilities:
At Eleven Madison Park, where Chef Daniel Humm is producing exquisite cuisine. There are several vegetarian first course options, and Chef Humm does magical things with fish and seafood.
L'Impero has delicious Italian food, and a menu that includes options for vegetarians. The fricassee of wild mushrooms and creamy polenta is seriously delicious! If the weather is conducive, ask for a table on the lovely patio.
Cafe Boulud, on the UES, has superb cuisine. There are 4 menus, one of which is dedicated to vegetarian dishes, plus a menu of daily specials.
If your friend takse vegetarianism fairly seriously, I would probably not choose an Italian restaurant, because many of the pasta sauces and most risottos which don't obviously have meat will have chicken stock in their base. My husband and I are similar to your friend (veggie with occasional fish) and went to L'Impero for a tasting menu, which was out of this world, but we were asked if we would be okay with dishes using stock (we were, as long as we weren't told, as we are not that strict about it, and we didn't want to be too fussy as it was a special occasion with others present). I usually end up ordering fish when dining at a continental type restaurant because I also don't eat dairy, and it seems that the vegetarian option will always have some sort of cream or cheese in it.
I recently went to Devi, and loved the food. The service is also very good there but it is a smaller room and may not seem quite as "fine dining" as Granercy Tavern.
Another place that is not as formal as Gramercy Tavern but is in the same general neighborhood, has a lovely back garden,and a unique menu is Pure Food and Wines. It's a gourmet, vegan, raw food place. This cuisine is particularly appropriate for hot weather and is better than you might expect.