Lunch with veg choices between 42nd and 46th West Side near rockerfeller)
Zenith/Asahi on 48th between 8th and 9th Avenues. Zenith is a vegetarian-vegan restaurant, Asahi is Japanese (sushi, teriaki, etc.), they share the same dining room and the same management and you can order off both menus. Zenith's soups are excellent. Also try their vegan chocolate truffle cake if you get a chance!
I ate as Zenith last night for the first time and it was the worst food I've had in a long time (especially considering how much you're paying there). First of all, everything reeked of fish, including my glass. When I asked for a new glass, the new one smelled fishy, too. We had the chef's assorted appetizers, which were okay, but tasted like they were frozen for eons before being microwaved for our consumption. It included gluten on sticks with a couple of pieces of pepper, and I describe them that way because that's how un-glamorous they were. We ordered combo entrees of the fake squid (absolutely horrible - all the bad qualities of squid with the worst qualities of analogs), soy crepes stuffed with a very fishy spinach, some gluten "nuggets" in a sauce with a few pieces of broccoli, and the mushroom basilico. The mushroom dish was the best, but that's not saying much. The ingredients didn't taste fresh at all (frozen), and the dishes seemed as if they were prepared with little attention. I don't say this about most veg places but I will definitely never eat there again. In fact, it was so bad, I'm on a mission to warn everyone to avoid it! (Maybe I should have had the soup.)
Oh, one more thing about the fish scent and flavor that permeated everything at Zenith - I often eat veg rolls at sushi restaurants and I've never experienced that problem before.
As for Zen Palate, I'm a big fan of theirs, and I'm pretty much a food snob. I think calling it the McDonalds of veg food is completely unwarranted. I think the food is very good, consistently. It's a great place to take non-vegs because, between the pretty presentation, friendly service, and great flavor, they always seem to be impressed and happy with their meals.
Queen of Sheba (Ethiopian) is on 10th & 48th and it's really, really good. They have lots of veg choices. There's a Two Boots on the lower level of Grand Central Station that has at least one vegan pie by the slice, as well as a bunch of vegetarian ones.