The vegetable-forward movement continues to charge ahead, lining Manhattan's Fifth Avenue with carrots. Well, not exactly. But starting this month, New York will get some new vegan and vegetarian dining options. John Fraser, the chef behind Narcissa and Dovetail, is opening Nix, a vegetarian restaurant just south of Union Square, where he'll serve shiitake cacio e pepe (yes, the dish is having a revival moment, thanks to Nishi and others), naan and dips, carrots in the style of Chinese cashew chicken, and broccoli rabe with cottage cheese and Calabrian chiles. "There's a moment of sin, even though it's quite virtuous," Fraser told the New York Times, referring to his plans to use butter and cheese.
Meanwhile, Ravi DeRossi, who owns 15 bars and restaurants in New York, announced recently that he's transitioning his spots from ones that use animal products (all varieties of meat, fish and dairy) to ones that are vegan. He started this weekend with Mother of Pearl, his tiki bar in the East Village. The new vegan menu from Daphne Cheng sticks to the Polynesian theme with dishes like green mango poke and fried plantains and taro.
DeRossi's also planning to expand his high-end vegan concept, Avant Garden, into a multifaceted vegan mini empire, complete with a fast-casual concept, vegetable butcher (yup, it's a thing), a tasting table and a bistro.
Northeastern winters are rough on crops and chefs who aim to use local produce—as Fraser does at Narcissa, utilizing the restaurant's upstate farm to help fuel the kitchen—have a battle to fight this time of year. So, perhaps somewhat unsurprisingly, neither DeRossi nor Fraser has made sweeping statements about where the produce for their vegetable restaurants will come from, leaving room for them to draw on what is available locally and what comes in from afar. It's a method Amanda Cohen, one of the O.G. vegetarian restaurant pioneers, has been using at Dirt Candy. In her words, "There are two words that make me die inside: seasonal and local."
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