21st birthday lunch with a vegetarian
We want to take our daughter out for lunch on her 21th birthday. She's a vegetarian and we want it to be special.
I agree with Candle 79; great food, nice ambiance. Somplace with delicious food but less nice atmosphere- angelica's kitchen on East 12 street. The menu has a little more appeal to non-vegetarians who may be dining with you. I personally prefer Candle 79, though.
Franchia (veg Korean teahouse on 34th and Park) is really nice if you DON"T do the prix fix.
They have an entree with kabocha squash which is great. Organic wines and teas. A GREAT vegan cheesecake. Plus it's a really beautiful restaurant. Chic.
As a vegetarian who cooks and eats mostly vegan food, Candle 79 is my go-to restaurant for special occasions. I would recommend skipping the specials, which are hit or miss, and ordering from the standard menu. The service is impeccable, and if they know in advance that you are there for a special occasion, they usually go out of their way to accommodate in a number of ways.
The appeal for Dirt Candy is that it is a new, hip, downtown restaurant and seems to widely appeal to both vegetarians (NOT vegans) and omnivores. Haven't been there myself, but the reviews have been solid so far.
So between those two, the pros and cons seem to be focus on cuisine, locale and menu/atmosphere:
creative vegan vs. creative vegetarian
upper east side semi-stuffy vs. hip east village
larger, well-established menu/space vs. a newer, smaller upstart menu/space