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Nov 2, 2011 10:02 AM

fancy places with actual vegan options?

Every year my boss does a holiday dinner at what I consider to be a "fancy" restaurant - i.e. not somewhere I would normally go - in the Union Sq/Flatiron/East Village area. Places like Union Sq Cafe, Craft, etc. In the past its been just 3 of us, but this year it will be just the boss and I. Thing is, I'm vegan but happy to go along just for the conversation and wine, but I know he is going to ask me for suggestions this year. Both Union Sq and Craft have come up with decent vegetable plates in the past, which I'm fine with, but one year it was Aldea and all I could get was a meh salad despite alerting them early in the day to the situation; this year I will be 6 months pregnant and wanting something more than salad.

So, any suggestions?

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  1. I used to date a Vegan, so I have a lot of experience with this.

    Every top restaurant in New York is very happy to cook Vegan dishes for Vegan customers. It helps if you warn them in advance, at the time you make the reservation. (The more notice the better -- a couple of days earlier is better than "earlier that day".)

    The problem is, you have to go a level above Aldea for such service -- the kind of place whose kitchen has seemingly limitless resources.

    1. It's not so much a question of limitless resources, but time to get what they need to do the job well. Aldea, with a couple day's notice, probably could / would have made you something more interesting, but generally by the time the phone lines are open the produce shopping for the day's been done already.

      If you're not averse to going back to Craft, they'd probably be one of the better options, especially with advance notice. Certainly, if you're to go fancier (at least in terms of price point), a place like Eleven Madison Park will make you a vegan meal that'll eclipse most others, more than likely - it wouldn't be just a "vegetable plate" or anything, but something more inventive - they're the kind of kitchen that actually enjoys a little challenge they can have some fun with. Again, though, advance notice is key.

      If you're to go on a Monday, most (all?) the Mario Batali restaurants do the "Meatless Monday" thing, where there are vegetarian (often vegan, or at least modifiable to such) options for every course.

      Eleven Madison Park
      11 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10010

      43 E. 19th St., New York, NY 10003

      31 West 17th Street, New York, NY 10011

      1. Would you be willing to consider Kajitsu?

        Regardless of where you end up, I would mention the pregnancy / vegan restrictions both when making the original reservation and when confirming the reservation 24-48 hours in advance.

        As others have noted, same-day notice is often too late.

        414 East 9th Street, New York, NY 10009

        1. Daniel Boulud's restaurants are usually quite accommodating and vegan-friendly.

          oops, just noticed your location parameters. okay then, how about Gotham Bar & Grill?

          Gotham Bar and Grill
          12 East 12th Street, New York, NY 10003

          1. Is Dirt Candy fancy enough? They have fantastic (vegetarian or vegan) food.

            Dirt Candy
            430 East 9th Street, New York, NY 10009

            1 Reply
            1. re: rose water

              I would LOVE to get him to Kajitsu or Dirt Candy, but it ain't gonna happen...I should have specified that I need places that do serve meat. Thanks for all the suggestions though.

              Dirt Candy
              430 East 9th Street, New York, NY 10009

              414 East 9th Street, New York, NY 10009