10 weeks in Brooklyn/NYC/America...
My husband is here for 10 weeks. (long story that has turned me into an amateur immigration lawyer) We love to hunt down delicious cheap food. We are the kind of vegetarians who don't ask "is there lard in that?" Yesterday, I took him to the red hook ball fields with great success. During his last trip, we went to Di Fara's which was such a big hit it will have to be repeated. I've been reading reviews of Sriphaphai and think that should be added to the list. Also, and the Dosa cart that just won the Vendies. Where do you suggest...
I love the Dosa man! Here are some other suggestions, not necessarily dirt cheap but definitely "reasonable":
Since you like Indian, there are many places you can visit in the lower east side (around E6th between 1st and 2nd avenues - there is lots of variation in quality, though - I like Banjara and Haveli) or Lexington avenue in the mid-20s (Pongal is all vegetarian, south Indian food; Curry Leaf is not all vegetarian, but I have had tasty food there and good service).
I love the shroom burgers at shake shack in Madison Square Park.
In addition to DiFara, you may want to venture over to Henry Street between Carroll and 1st in Carroll Gardens for pizza at Lucali. It is open for dinner only, and not on Tuesdays.
There is a cheap, kind of dive-y fake meat place in Williamsburg called Foodswings. Closed Mondays. They have tasty fake wings and the like. http://www.foodswings.net/index.html
There are two locations - one near W4th station in Manhattan and one in Brooklyn - Ft. Greene maybe? - of Red Bamboo. Love their creole soul chicken and bourbon chicken (clearly also a fake meat kind of place, although they also have veggie items that are more vegetable focused). http://www.redbamboobrooklyn.com/
You may want to try ethiopian places. If you want to stay in brooklyn for that, not sure what the ones to try are. You can always go to Meskerem on Macdougal street, also by W4th station. The food is cheaper at lunch.
Caribbean upscale - Sugar Cane on Flatbush. See also the many Trini, Jamaican ,and Jerk Chicken entries. The Brooklyn botanical garden is near Flatbush and many Caribbean food choices
Russian - M&I international food store, See many posts for other ideas.
Take the PATH train to Newark NJ, See "Iron Bound" for Brazilian/Portuguese ideas.
also a trip to Sunset Park Chinatown is in order...there's plenty written here on other threads, but I'll highlight that Ba Xuyen bahn mi has both vegetable and sardine sandwiches,
and warn you off the vegetable dumplings at Family Dumpling. Family Dumpling's GREAT for pork or shrimp, but disappoint with vegetarian.
dim sum at World Tong is brilliant (open seven days a week, 7am, but extra mayhem on weekends) if you look the other way to the possibility of lard near your sublime shrimp dumplings. And IF you eat seafood (so many people that identify as vegetarians do these days ...)
For your celebration (when the 10 weeks of amateur lawyering pays off)
I suggest al di la, for beet ravioli or malfatti (chard/parmesean balls in sage butter), and grilled chard stems, and affogatto for dessert.
I've never eaten vegetarian at the ballfields -- never noticed nopales tacos for instance.
What did you have there?
(gawd, that corn . . . YUM!)
It's already been said, but one of the few vegetarian foods I find myself craving is the Trinidadian Roti, and Brooklyn's got a good selection. Be sure to get some pholori! And some doubles, but maybe on a different trip from the pholori. And remember to ask for extra hot sauce!
The other thing I think of when I think of vegetarian food in NYC is the food at Najeeb's, up in Williamsburg. The only falafel I've ever had that I wanted more of, and I keep going back again and again. They also have great soups and zatar.
I guess I like lots of vegetarian Italian stuff - I don't even think of it being vegetarian. You've already been to DiFara, so a pizza your might be a little disappointing, but I don't think so - lots of different pies out there, many of them fantastic. Lucali was mentioned; L&B, Joe & Pat's, Nick's (maybe get a calzone here instead of pizza), and Patsy's up in Harlem are all also worth visiting. There are tons of others - just check the boards. And plenty of good Italian-American places, in addition to the fantastic Italian places like Al di la. I'm sure there are some fantastic eggplant parm sandwiches in Brooklyn, although I haven't gotten around to locating them yet. After all, when in Rome...
Speaking of local specialties, I'd seek out some dairy restaurants if I were you.
It seems you have already found many things that I (a native New Yorker) would recommend! I would say your instincts and info are right on the money. For a really nice dinner, try Al Di La in Brooklyn, maybe for a last meal (and a little more $$). Then you have my own blueprint for food all mapped out.
Stay in BK and run over to Waterfalls Cafe, at 144 Atlantic. Their mouhamarah is a must have, and most everything they cook up is good eats. If you need a falafel fix, hit up Zaytoon's on Myrtle and Washington. Their bread is baked fresh, heated till it poofs, then loaded with garbanzo-goodness with a dollop of tabouleh. For supper, swing over to Madiba on 195 Dekalb -- BK's only South African restaurant -- for some veggie "bunny chow". Sriphaphai serves some of the best Thai food in the U.S. (take it from me, I live in L.A.), but it's in Queens. If you're headed out there, head up to Flushing and make a day of it.
Waterfalls is tasty, but for something different try the couple of Yemeni places a couple blocks further down on Atlantic but closer to Court Street. Hadramout is the name of the downstairs one that's open 24 hours. It usually has a steady crowd of taxi drivers inside watching Arabic TV news. Besides having many things that will never appear on any typical "Middle Eastern" restaurant they have phenomenal fresh-baked Yemeni-style flat bread that they serve with all of their stews and hot dishes. I recommend the jute. If you're in the mood for something more standard, they do have a falafel sandwich that, instead of being served in store-bought pita, is rolled in their home-baked bread. Excellent. Also, wherever you go, please think about contributing to a blog site that I run that reviews vegetarian dishes in New York City: www.whorebivore.com . Cheers, Walmsley Apricot.