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Nice lunch on Monday for vegetarian mother/daughter duo

I have a really important job interview in on Monday morning and I want to go somewhere nice with my mom afterwards to either celebrate or cry. We're both vegetarian and we love pretty much anything ethnic (Thai, Mexican, Korean, Italian, but no Indian - we're South Indian and rarely like to eat out at Indian places).

As much as I would love to go somewhere as nice as Eleven Madison Park or Craft, my mom and I can't eat at those places. I need a place that has solid vegetarian entrees and appetizers (we would be fine ordering two appetizers and one entree to share) - and no side dishes do not count as a legitimate meal option.

Right now I'm thinking of Otto because my brain isn't letting me think of anything but pizza, which is why I need your help!

(And no to Mesa Grill, Five Points, Cookshop, and Tabla - we've been to all of those places already.)

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  1. Have you been to Blossom? It's one of my new favorite places.

    187 9th Ave, New York, NY 10011

    1. I had a great veg experience recently at Franchia. And eating there, for whatever reason, feels like an occasion, so it may be a nice place to go after your interview.
      Gobo and Candle Cafe are also very nice places for a veg meal though not really ethnic.
      Good luck!

      1. I'm not certain this will suit your palate because the menu is often heavy on the seitan & tofu (and many s. Indians I know don't like that sort of thing). But if it does suit you, Gobo in the W. Village is a very pleasant spot to dine. There's a reasonably priced prix fixe lunch menu and an extensive selection of fresh squeezed juices. http://www.goborestaurant.com/west/in...

        Home on Cornelia St. in the W. Village has a tasty potato cakes main dish for lunch. They also have a grilled vegetable sandwich and mac & cheese on the menu, which I haven't tried. Rumor has it that the mac & cheese is great, though.

        Otto isn't a bad bet either, btw!

        1. Here's the Chowhound link:

          401 6th Ave, New York, NY 10014

          3 Replies
          1. re: cimui

            Gobo is always packed, and I may take some CH heat for saying this, but I think the food at Gobo is terrible. The last time I went I was served risotto it tasted like overcooked oatmeal.

            1. re: Nikki NYC

              I don't particularly like the food, either, but I wonder if it isn't because I'm too wedded to the idea of having certain Asian dishes a certain way, and Gobo's interpretations just don't do it for me.

              I still throw it out as a suggestion because so many of my (respectably foodie) friends like it -- and in the same way that I suggest that people go to Telepan when it seems to suit, even though I personally dislike it.

              [For the record, though, I kind of like overcooked oatmeal, boiled with milk and left simmering for a good long while. ;)]

              1. re: Nikki NYC

                I really enjoyed the pan seared spinach dumplings and pine nut vegetable medley with lettuce wraps from Gobo.

            2. Also, I LOVE the prix fix lunch at Turkish Kitchen and there are so many veg appetizers, veg salads, and a wonderful huge veg entree. Delicious.

              4 Replies
              1. re: abud

                If you are into soups, salads, sandwiches and pastries, Le Pain Quotidien is a charming, small place that caters to organic and healthy foods in a pleasant atmosphere. It is not a fancy place. It is more casual.
                You might see some patrons reading a book or some business people sitting in a corner chatting quietly. They don't tend to rush you.
                Servers are pleasant.

                1. re: idia

                  The main thing I like about Le Pain is the spelt bread. It's wonderful.

                  1. re: idia

                    I was just going to say the same thing, idia. Le Pain Quotidien is a great place for organic food with lots of vegetarian options and they have a wonderful brunch on the weekends. I really enjoy sitting at the communal table as well.

                    1. re: idia

                      Le Pain Quotidien is definitely not the place for nice lunch!

                      Also, we're not really looking for a healthy or organic meal, just a nice place that has good vegetarian options.

                  2. Have you considered Hangawi? I've never been there for lunch, but I love it for dinner. 100% Korean vegetarian, quite fancy.


                    1 Reply
                    1. re: small h

                      Yep, we've been there twice for dinner (and we love it!)

                    2. Hey, scarlet starlet,

                      I strongly recommend Cafe Boulud. The cuisine there is superb, and one of their 4 menus, Le Potager, is dedicated to vegetarian dishes. Cordial, polished service, and lovely, relaxing ambiance. Perfect, I think, for a mother/daughter lunch.


                      Good luck with your interview and Bon Appetit!

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: RGR

                        THAT is the kind of place I'm looking for! Thank you for the great suggestion and the well wishes!

                        Addendum: Cafe Boulud isn't open for lunch on Mondays.

                        Now I need a new suggestion!

                          1. re: bdurrett

                            Maybe I should have worded my original request differently - I do NOT want to go to a vegetarian/vegan restaurant. I'm looking for an upscale restaurant that has vegetarian options. (Cafe Boulud would have been great, but they're not open.)

                          2. re: scarlet starlet

                            Bummer!! I completely forgot about that! :-(

                            Perhaps, Alto? Looking at the menu on their website, I see that the appetizer and pasta selections include several which appear to be vegetarian-friendly.

                            Older sibling L'Impero's website is currently showing only their prix-fixe menu. But they do have an a la carte menu which I'm guessing would have more vegetarian-friendly choices in the apps & pasta groups.

                            Both restaurants have the same chef, Michael White, whose modern Italian cuisine is delicious. L'Impero has excellent service and lovely ambiance with understated elegant decor. I haven't been to Alto yet, but from what I've read, service is professional, and it has stylish contemporary decor.


                        1. If you like Hangawi, perhaps you might also enjoy Bann. My vegetarian friend is always well cared for there.

                          1. Aquavit has a nice vegetarian lunch menu. You can also order vegetarian dishes a la carte.

                            The Cafe also has some nice options for vegetarians.

                            1. Tocqueville has lots of veggie options and a much praised prix fix lunch.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: abud

                                While I'm fond of Tocqueville, but looking at the current a la carte lunch menu on their website, I don't see a whole lot of vegetarian dishes. In fact, I count exactly one on the apps list and one main. As for the prix-fixe, I've never found it to be particularly vegetarian-frienbdly.