East Village Bday Celebration
After a job interview and possible reason to finally move here, I'm hoping to have a small intimate bday celebration with my closest friends this Wednesday post-Hurricane Sandy. I'm visiting but have been here a few times and follow the foodie blogs for fun, especially for nyc and houston (a texan originally). I'm vegetarian, and wanted any suggestions from you guys on affordable, tasty Thai, Italian, Japanese or Mexican veggie friendly places in the East Village area that may be good for a party atmosphere. And is possibly close to a place that could play hip hop and lead to the second part of the night ;)
You have to be careful about Thai restaurants if you're strictly vegetarian, because a lot of dishes use fish sauce. Zabb Elee is the best Thai restaurant in the neighborhood, and the best one I've been to in Manhattan, but note my caution about fish sauce and such. There is a Thai vegetarian restaurant called Pukk, but based at least on a meal I had there a few years ago, I wouldn't be able to recommend it. The food was not tasty or spicy, merely oversalted. Some other hounds have been there more recently and like it better, so take that for what it's worth.
In Japanese restaurants, if you are a strict vegetarian, you have to be careful about dashi, which typically is made in part from bonito (fish) flakes, and the bonito flakes themselves appear in some dishes. I'm not a vegetarian, but I like Kamui Den. Look over their menupages menu and see if it seems like there's enough food there that you would eat: http://www.menupages.com/restaurants/...
One caveat: I don't really get what you mean by a "party atmosphere," given that you are planning a small, intimate celebration. Zabb Elee is a place without any real ambiance, and Kamui Den is if anything a bit sedate. But after dinner, you can find a club and enjoy the loud part of the party.
I think L'asso is kinda fun and they have a large variety. They mostly do interesting pizzas. Plenty if veg. options. It is smaller and more intimate.
No fish or seafood here. Yes, I've been to Japan and ended up eating mostly Domino's since everything had hidden fish even miso soup, ha. I'll have to look at Zabb Elee and Kamui Den's menus and ask about the fish sauce. I actually just got screwed for not asking about something most people would assume is vegetarian yesterday: Pizza sauce. Went to Bowery Kitchen, and their pizza sauce very prominently had some sort of bacon mixed into it so my mushroom pizza ended up being a disaster and it was so dark in there I could barely see my food. I hate annoying wait staff with my vegetarian centric questions, but it's pretty important to me, I guess I mean by party atmosphere that it will be okay for my small group to be loud enough since its a rare occasion that we all get to go out to dinner together. L'asso sounds awesome too.
When I went to L'Asso on Broome St., I was unimpressed with the pizza I tried.
For Italian, consider Supper Restaurant: http://supperrestaurant.com/
They always have some good salads, mushrooms, pastas, and side dishes (I particularly recommend the microplaned zucchini and almonds contorno), and no-one will mind if you are a bit boisterous because the place has a convivial vibe.