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Aug 10, 2014 04:06 PM

Dirt Candy alternative?

Looking to take my boyfriend to a vegetarian restaurant when we're there for a few days in mid-September. Sadly, Dirt Candy will have closed its doors for its move by then (Aug 31 I believe, to re-open Nov 1). Is there someone else in Manhattan who plays with vegetables like Amanda Cohen?

Much thanks!

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  1. Not the same as Dirt Candy, but definitely look into counter-seating at Kajitsu. it's definitely celebratory and an exciting use of vegetables.

    2 Replies
      1. re: coasts

        If Kajitsu is a maybe, you could also consider Brushstroke. If you ain't vegetarian, you can get one regular and one vegetarian, and compare and contrast. If you folks haven't done kaiseki style Japanese before, it's fun!

      2. Well if its in your budget i'm sure del posto's vegan menu is amazing....

        Pure food and wine would be a good option, not quite as playful and whimsical but really amazing food and if its nice the back deck is great at night.

        Hangawi for more casual than Kajitsu, or Scarpetta has a great vegetarian menu assuming you're ok with eggs and cheese.

        Narcissa is not a veg restaurant per se but their carrots wellington is veg and has high acclaim, a good number of veg apps but the wellington is the only veg main option

        1 Reply
        1. re: Ttrockwood

          The Scarpetta veg. menu also looks great. Eggs and cheese not a problem.

        2. café boulud has a nice vegetarian menu, very seasonal in nature.

          1. Del Posto is a bit too much.

            Let's say around 65-75pp for food plus a bottle of wine (in the middle of the price list).

            I like the look of Pure Food and Wine and of Kajitsu. I will look more into them. Other recs still welcome!

            1 Reply
            1. re: mattz2

              Pure also has a 3 course lunch pre fixe for $32 during the week, fyi

            2. I'm not a fan of Pure Food & Wine. Keep in mind they're not just vegetarian, or even vegan, but raw vegan. They do what they can, and are occasionally inventive given the parameters, but what they can do is very limited. A vegan friend commented that everything on the menu was basically just a salad.

              In addition to Kajitsu (which is excellent) and HanGawi (also great, though maybe not as exciting) and some of the other choices above...

              Dovetail could be a good choice, especially if you're here on a Monday when they do a vegetable four-course prix fixe for $58. There are four choices per course, two vegetarian and two "vegetable focused" - even on a non-Monday, you could order the entire "vegetable" section of the a la carte menu and share everything for $130 before tax/tip.

              Don't know if you have good Indian food where you come from, but we have a couple excellent places that do vegetarian tasting menus - Tulsi ($71) and Devi ($70) - I prefer Tulsi of the two. The chef there is a vegetarian himself (even though he's famous for his lamb chops, go figure...)

              4 Replies
              1. re: sgordon

                Hmmm. Thanks for pointing that out about PF&W. I hadn't realized it was raw, too.

                Dovetail looks good. Sadly we won't be there on a Monday but I like the idea of the whole "vegetable section" a la carte...

                We're in Chicago, so not a dearth of options here. I don't think we'd Indian as we have a local place which we love.

                HanGawi looks interesting, and we haven't had good Korean food for awhile now that I think of it. Have you been?

                1. re: mattz2

                  Yeah, Chi-town definitely has solid Indian. Tulsi is great, and Chef Mathur is very creative, but you might want to go for something different.

                  I have been to HanGawi many times, though I'm not a vegetarian I love the place. It's like a little zen temple - you have to take off your shoes, etc. The food is very good, but it's simple and subtle. It's not your normal Korean cuisine (like BBQ or whatnot) but a specific style of Buddhist vegetarian, not too heavy on the spice. It's not going to provide the whiz-bang that Dirt Candy would have - tofu, mushrooms, rice, some obscure roots and whatnot, but they prepare them in a very refined, if very traditional, way. If you're going all-veggie during your time here, they'd be worth a stop - they also have good lunch prices. If you're only doing one vegetarian meal, I'd say Kajitsu, Dovetail, or Scarpetta would be a little more exciting.

                  HanGawai DEFINITELY requires a reservation, though. They tend to book up pretty solid. Also, since you have to take your shoes off, don't make the mistake of going in after a long day walking around in the summer heat, at least not without a stop back at the hotel for a rinse before dinner... Was once stuck next to someone who I guess hadn't anticipated that (or just couldn't smell his own foot-funk)

                  1. re: mattz2

                    Dovetail has a vegetable tasting everyday, cost more, but I think more elaborate also as compared to their Monday menu.

                    For that matter, nowadays, pretty much most of the fine dining places in NY well do something vegetarian and make it special.

                    HanGawi is okay. I'm not vegetarian, and been there a couple of times. If I wasn't compelled to go there, I wouldn't. But the vegetarian friends like that place a lot.

                    You may also consider lunch celebration. Went to Del Posto for lunch recently, with my vegetarian gf, was pretty good (and the restaurant was very accommodating).

                    Same at Gramercy Tavern.

                    1. re: villainx

                      I think it has an especially good rep among vegetarians because it was arguably, for some years, the second-best vegan restaurant in the city (aside from Kajitsu, which is a significantly higher price point) - in fact it probably still is. And for years aside from pasta dishes there was very little offered for vegetarians that was interesting at regular restaurants. My brother was a vegetarian for years and I can't tell you how many non-Italian restaurants we went to where the only vegetarian entree was a generic "vegetable medley" or, alternately, a trio of side dishes put on one plate.

                      Del Posto for lunch is a good call. Go for the extended four-course menu (only $10 more than the regular three-course) - there may not be a vegetarian secondi option on the online menu but they'll come up with something.

                      Might want to give Bouley a call as well. The have a five-course lunch tasting menu for $55, not all courses have vegetarian options listed but they might have unlisted veggie options or be able to do veggie versions of enough dishes to make it happen.