No Meat, No Dairy, No Problem: The Best Vegan Restaurants in New York City

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Photo: Crispy tofu at Dirt Candy (credit: Krista)

Here’s the dilemma: you’re a vegan and you’re going out to dinner with a decidedly non-vegan group. You don’t want to be “that guy” who goes out to Mexican and orders a taco salad that amounts to nothing more than iceberg lettuce in a tortilla bowl, or the one who gets oatmeal at brunch (but only if it’s made with almond milk). In order to avoid being pegged as a boring dinner date and to keep the invitations coming, you need to not only recommend the restaurant, but choose one that caters to you and your less dietary restricted friends. And hey, even if you aren’t vegan, plant-based eating is having a moment in the culinary world right now and you’d be missing out on some fine New York dining were you to turn your nose up at meatless menus. With that in mind, here are the best restaurants in New York for vegans.

For more places to eat and drink in New York right now, check out the BlackBook City Guides.

By Chloe

185 Bleecker St. at MacDougal, New York, NY

By Chloe, a new vegan concept from celebrity chef Chloe Coscarelli just touched down in the West Village. It’s a strictly plant-based restaurant but not in a stereotypical crunchy way. The menu features vegan takes on American comfort foods, like a burger and fries, mac n’ cheese, and ice cream sandwiches. Chef Chloe also does her own take on the very Instagrammable avocado toast.

Good for: Casual lunch

What to get: The classic burger (made with a tempeh, lentil, chia, and walnut patty) on a potato bun with air-baked sweet potato fries

El Rey Coffee Bar & Luncheonette

100 Stanton St. at Ludlow, New York, NY

Lower East Siders have been crowding the veggie-friendly El Rey since it first opened in 2013, but thanks to New York Times critic Pete Wells’ recent visit to the California-Mexican and his pleasant surprise at the vegan chicharrones, the hole-in-the-wall joint is about to get a lot busier. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, the space is bustling all day long, and though it isn’t branded as vegan, there are plenty of dairy and meat-free dishes, though there’s also a marinated chorizo plate.

Good for: Brunch or dinner with a small group

What to get: Avocado flatbread, kale salad with almond vinaigrette, vegan chicharrones locos with cashew cream 

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Photo: Grains and crudité at El Rey (credit: El Rey)

Dirt Candy

86 Allen St. at Broome, New York, NY

Amanda Cohen, the mastermind behind trendy Dirt Candy, couldn’t handle the never-ending hype that surrounded her original East Village location that she had to move to a bigger space in early 2015. She does crazily inventive things to vegetables, crafting dishes like vegetable monkey bread, sizzling Brussels sprouts tacos, and jalapeno hush puppies. Don’t shy away from the veggie-based desserts, you’ll be back for the celery cheesecake.

Good for: Trendy dinner

What to get: Brussels sprouts taco, carrot waffles with peanut mole sauce

Dimes

49 Canal St. at Orchard, New York, NY

Eating at Dimes is a win-win, it’ll make you feel healthy and cool. The minimalist California chill space specializes in one-plate wonders that cater to any dieter. Vegans will take to the chia seed pudding breakfast bowls and eclectic salads with accouterments like pickled red onions and candy cane beets, pescatarians will appreciate the pickled salmon bowl and seared tuna, and carnivores have more than plenty to choose from, like the pulled-pork bowl or the crunchy BLT.

Good for: Eclectic breakfast, light dinner

What to get: Quinoa bowl with carrot slaw, ginger tumeric hummus and mint basil vinaigrette; ciao bowl with poached eggs, bulgur, olives, currants and cumin yogurt herbs

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Photo: Dimes

Superiority Burger 

430 E. 9th St. at Avenue A, New York, NY

This newcomer to the East Village restaurant landscape is home to the boutique veggie burger (from a Del Posto alum). The website sums up everything you need to know about the burger joint: “everything is vegetarian, a lot is accidentally vegan.” Similar to by Chloe, the meatless menu is hearty and even if an all-beef burger were offered, you’d probably opt for the veggie version anyway, it’s just that good.

Good for: A quick and cheap dinner

What to get: The vegan sloppy joe and burnt broccoli salad

By Chloe, the West Village Lunch Spot With a Vegan Burger That Carnivores Will Love

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Photo: by Chloe 

As far as what’s cool in food right now, plant-based eating is pretty much the zeitgeist (when not eclipsed by the next big fried chicken sandwich). Everyone from Beyoncé to Mark Bittman has preached the benefits of eating a mostly vegan, heavily kale-infused diet. One of the main takeaways of veganism-of-the-now is that it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. For every steadfast vegan out there, there’s a healthful eater who would do anything for a cheeseburger but has a sensibility for seitan. Just as often as carnivores are embracing plant-based meals, traditional chefs are creating their own meat-less imitations of American classics. Take Van Leewuen, the artisan ice cream makers who got their start scooping their signature milk and cream specialties from their yellow trucks and now serve a vegan ice cream in their seven stores that has the New York Times drooling.

Then of course, there are chefs who’ve always been dedicated to the vegan cause. With the demand for healthy food on the rise, such chefs have more of an opportunity than ever to bring their inventive dishes to the masses. The latest to do so is Chloe Coscarelli, a vegan chef who made a name for herself as the winner of Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars,” back when cupcakes were the coolest thing since sliced bread. Along with Samantha Wasser of ESquared Hospitality, the 27-year old, who counts cookbook author and social media star on her resume, started by Chloe, a hip fast-casual vegan restaurant on the corner of Bleecker and MacDougal in the West Village, open today.

Located on the outskirts of NYU’s campus, by Chloe has a casual vibe targeted at the young, downtown eater. Think of it as Westville-meets-Organic Avenue-meets-Shake Shack, with a little bit of Van Leeuwen mixed in. The menu has a solid salad selection (including a kale caesar), and hearty main dishes that replace meat with plant, nut and wheat combos, like a vegan burger made with a tempeh, lentil, chia seed and walnut patty or a portabello mushrom-based whiskey BBQ. Non-dairy wise, there’s a heartwarming mac n’ cheese and truly mouthwatering ice cream sandwiches in flavors like roasted banana bourbon and coffee chip. We can only hope that she introduces vegan fried chicken down the line.

 

Public School, Rufus Wainwright, John Varvatos and More Come Out to Celebrate Watermill Center Summer Benefit

Circus of Stillness... the power over wild beasts?: The 22nd Annual Watermill Center Summer Benefit & Auction
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One of the cultural highlights in the whirlwind of summer soirees in the Hamptons is the Watermill Center Summer Benefit & Auction, curated by the artistic maverick Robert Wilson.  Over 1200 guests from the art, social, fashion, design and entertainment worlds came out to the highly anticipated event, including artist Daniel Arsham, Public School designers Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne, Rufus Wainwright, Brooke Shields, John Varvatos and Nicole Miller. The event raised over $1.9 million to support the year-round artist residency program.

As this can be a jaded lot to impress, there are always visually stunning surprises hidden amongst the vast forested grounds filled with curiosities. This year the theme was Circus of Stillness…the power over wild beasts, which featured a rousing performance by Sierra “Rosie” Casady of CocoRosie, a collaborative installation by forthcoming resident artists Cirkus Cirkör, a cloud sculpture by Arsham, “music” from the sonic noise group Barrsheadalhand over 20 site-specific installations by artists participating in the 2015 Residency Program – ranging from the surreal to simply ironic kitsch that stretches one’s imagination. Check out photos from the event below.

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Circus of Stillness... the power over wild beasts?: The 22nd Annual Watermill Center Summer Benefit & Auction

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 Main image and middle image courtesy of Billy Farrell

 

6 Rooftop Bars to Ride Out Summer in the City

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Photo: The Gorbals

With July on its way out (so long, it’s been real muggy), we have one month of true summer left. Yeah yeah, we know it’s a sin to countdown to the end of summer, but we’re only keeping track in an effort to maximize our time, fun and tan. If you haven’t taken your party of one, two or five to a rooftop bar (or rooftop pool) yet this summer, you’re doing summer in New York wrong. Here are six rooftop bars in New York — from Williamsburg and Chinatown to FiDi and the West Village — worth hitting up while the days are long and night air is temperate.

For more places to eat and drink in New York right now, check out the BlackBook City Guides.

The Jane

113 Jane St. at West St., New York, NY

The Jane has an unshakable air of exclusivity that makes it one of the city’s eternal hotspots, whether you’re in the market for a night at the boîte ballroom or a midday avocado toast at Cafe Gitane. This summer season brought one more reason for non-guests to revel at the West Village hotelthe rooftop bar is now open to the public Thursdays through Sundays starting at 5 PM.

Views of: New Jersey and the Hudson

What to orderThe Summer Solstice and avocado toast.

The Gorbals 

98 N. 6th St. between Wythe and Berry, Brooklyn, NY

An LA import from Top Chef’s Ilan Hal, The Gorbals occupies Williamsburg’s Space Ninety 8, a concept-type space most well-known for housing Urban Outfitters. So yes, the restaurant tries as hard to fit the hipster mold as does the retail store it overlooks. If you can’t commit to the kind of Jewish, kind of Scottish, mostly fusion menu in the warehouse-like restaurant, stop by for drinks on the rooftop extension.

Views of: The Williamsburg Bridge and the East River

What to orderThe Jet Pilot slushie, House G&T

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Photo: The Gorbals 

Wyndham Garden Hotel 

93 Bowery at Hester St., New York, NY

You probably don’t associate Chinatown with posh rooftop lounges…until now. The newest addition to the NYC rooftop roster is Rooftop93 Bar & Lounge, atop the Wyndham Garden Hotel in Chinatown. The two-story bar starts on the 18th floor with an indoor, floor-to-ceiling windowed lounge, then goes one floor up with an outdoor lounge. There’s a $25 minimum to drink on the rooftop, which shouldn’t be hard to match with the well-crafted cocktail list.

Views of: One World Trade Center and the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges

What to order: The Bowery Boozer

CATCH

21 Ninth Ave. at W. 13th St., New York, NY

The Meatpacking District has its fair share of rooftop hangsLe Bain at the Standard, the Gansevoort, or the Beach at the Dream, to name a few. But one of the hotter scenes is taking places on the rooftop terrace of CATCH. It’s perfectly exclusive and dotted with stylish, maybe famous, people.

Views of: Downtown Manhattan

What to orderLush Lemonade and a seafood tower

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Photo: CATCH

McCarren Hotel 

160 N. 12th St. between Berry and Bedford, Brooklyn, NY

Since the nearby Wythe Hotel has become overrun with European tourists and various out-of-Brooklyners looking for that taste of Williamsburg cool, for a relatively more chill but mature BK scene, head to Sheltering Sky, the rooftop lounge at the McCarren Hotel, open at 5 PM every night.

Views of: Manhattan and the East River

What to orderBrooklyn Sour

Loopy Doopy 

102 North End Ave. at Vesey St.

If you’re wondering where all those derivative-trading Goldman Sachs financiers go to take the day off, you might want to check out Loopy Doopy, the rooftop bar at Battery Park City’s Conrad Hotel.

Views ofHudson River, the Statue of Liberty and the New York Harbor

What to order: The Boozy Icepop

Where to Eat and Drink Near Terminal 5

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PhotoCage the Elephant

Terminal 5 is a magnet for indie artists and big-name performers, but it isn’t exactly conveniently located. Sure, it has the environs of Hell’s Kitchen to latch onto, but that’s a crowded restaurant landscape that needs an expert to weed through the good and the bad. That’s why we’ve provided you with a carefully selected roster of eateries all within walking distance of Terminal 5, so when you’ve got tickets to Tove Lo, Tame Impala, Sleater-Kinney (or Brandon Flowers of The Killers next week), you’ll know exactly where to go for pre and post show food and drank. Here are all the restaurants near Terminal 5 worth hitting up.

For more places to eat and drink right now in New York, check out the BlackBook City Guides.

Pure Thai Cookhouse

 766 9th Ave. #2 at 52nd St.

This popular 35-seater serves genuine Thai cuisine reminiscent of the vendors and shophouses from the farmlands of Phayao. You can choose to take your noodles wet or dry with the eclectic and budget-friendly soup and wok menus (pro tip: they also deliver. You’re welcome).

What to order: Greenpapaya salad, wok ginger curry with calamari

Tehuitzingo Deli Grocery

695 10th Ave. at 47th St.

Don’t judge a book by its cover, it’s the inside that counts, etc., etc. While you may pass up the Tehuitzingo Deli Grocery as another corner market upon first glance, you can find fresh, healthy, and eclectic Mexican cuisine at more-than-fair prices. Swoop in early for the loaded Breakfast Burriot, or get your fill on one of the numerous Mexican Sandwich options.

What to order: Cubana Sandwich, Pollo en Mole Poblano

Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop

600 11th Ave. at 45th St.

From American expat in Japan to founding a haven for ramen lovers just along Clinton St., Ivan Orkin aims to bring a little zest to your traditional ramen bowl. The Gotham West outpost is open until 11 PM on weeknights and midnight on weekends, making it ideal for a relatively late bite This isn’t your 75-cent bag from the grocery store—enjoy the whole spectrum of egg, salmon roe, scallions, dashi, and the works. Or for the vintage collectors, go for the 1000 Year Old Deviled Egg.

What to order: Ivan Ramen “Caprese,” Triple Pork Triple Garlic Mazemen

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PhotoIvan Ramen (credit: chezshal)

Danji

773 10th Ave. at 52nd St.

Danji marries traditional and authentic Korean flavors with a modern aesthetic (and with the portion sizes, you could definitely tag along a plus-one to this wedding). Only fresh, local, and organic ingredients are used, making for a deliciously healthy dinner. Sake’s organic too, right?

What to order: Soy-poached black cod with spicy daikon, tofu with ginger scallion dressing

Taboon

773 10th Ave. at 52nd St.

Taboon is inspired by foods of the Mediterranean and Middle East and “bold and articulated flavors.” However, every palate is catered to here with options ranging from ricotta gnocchi to short ribs paired with hummus.

What to order: Terra Cotta Lamb Kebabs

Poulette

790 9th Ave. at 53rd St.

Inspired by the delicious rotisseries spread all across French cities, Poulette aims to bring the particular je ne se quoi of the simple poultry dish to New York. Enjoy high-quality ingredients and choose from seasonal sides like brussels sprouts, French beans with mushrooms, ratatouille, and more.

What to order: Poulette Sandwich

Where to Get Turnt on Agave: The Best Tequila Bars in NYC

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Hit up these NYC spots to get turnt on National Tequila Day.

 

Tequila is an oft-overlooked spirit, relegated to nearing-4am-last-ditch-effort to get wasted on shots before last call. The subtleties of different types of tequila, not usually tasted when it hits the back of your throat, should be celebrated on National Tequila Day. We rounded up the best tequila bars in NYC for you to experience the wonders of tequila (don’t worry, you’ll still get wasted). If that’s not enough, check out how George Clooney likes his tequila here.

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Los Feliz — For Getting Smashed with Class

With one of the most extensive tequila lists in the city, this is the place to go for agave connoisseurs. Pair with a ceviche flight and you have one of the classiest ways to get smashed on tequila.

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Photo: Los Feliz

Barrio Chino — For Inebriation on Infused Tequilas

A hip nexus of Latin and Chinese cultures, Barrio Chino is where the cool kids go for tequila. Do a shot of one of their infused tequilas (like jalapeno) or go balls to the wall with a margarita-full.

 

Tico’s Tequila Bar (underneath Tijuana Picnic)—For Getting Wasted Underground

Impresario Jon Neidich newly minted this Mexican disco bar beneath Tijuana Picnic. Grab dinner above and go below for an extensive list of tequila in a tucked-away trendy space.

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Photo: Tijuana Picnic

 

Mayahuel — For An Authentic Mezcal

With a huge selection of tequila and mezcal cocktails as well as cervezas, Mayahuel is dedicated to ensuring an authentic taste of tequila and its sisters.

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Photo: Mayahuel 

Agave — For Getting Turnt on Tequila The Tried-and-True Way

New York’s classic tequila bar and restaurant may be the only place you need to go today.

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Photo: Agave

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For more places to eat and drink right now in NYC, check out the BlackBook City Guides.

Go South of the Border With Tijuana Picnic: 3 Tequila Recipes to Try Now

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Photo: Mi Casa Margarita by Jason Rodriguez, courtesy of Tijuana Picnic. Full recipes below.

Not a day goes by without some seemingly pointless new internet holiday rearing its ready-to-celebrate-on-Instagram-head. But this Friday heralds one we’re mucho excited to celebrate — National Tequila Day! Arriba!

In honor of this oh-so-sacred day, we thought it’d be wise to familiarize ourselves a bit more with the spirit; and who better to teach us the tequila way than Jim Kerns, the Sasha Petraske-trained bar consultant behind some of NYC’s best cocktail menus and the latest LES hotspot, Tico’s Tequila bar downstairs at Tijuana Picnic.

DiscoBallPhoto by Jason Rodriguez, courtesy of Tijuana Picnic

Please state your full name and occupation for the record.

James Michael Kerns. I’m the bar consultant here at Tijuana Picnic.

So what’s the difference between a bartender and a bar consultant?

I mean, it’s exactly what it sounds like. Bartending is when I’m actually behind the bar…I do that sometimes too these days. But consulting means I’m kind of developing menus or cocktails or putting together spirit lists.

Awesome. What’s your process like to put together a spirit list or cocktail menu?

Well, it all depends on the project. Usually there’s kind of an initial vision that’s laid out, and you kind of just figure out where you’re going to take it from there (and how and why).

What kind of direction did you get here at Tijuana Picnic?

I knew that it was going to be a Latin restaurant, Mexican restaurant, basically. I got initial drafts of the menu and then I tried to take some ingredients and carry them over to the drink list. You try to incorporate things in as thoughtful of a way as possible.

What goes with the Tequila family besides blackouts?

That’s anything if you drink enough of it [laughs]. Are you talking about types of food? Anything with savory notes or peppery notes they are obviously extremely complementary. If you were talking about Mezcal, anything smoky or grilled, that’s a good pairing.

So fascinating. What distinguishes a more expensive kind of spirit in the Tequila/Mezcal family? Is it the age?

It can be. I mean you have to keep a few factors in mind when it comes to pricing on booze in general. Packaging often drives pricing up. Like if a spirit is in its own one-off kind of bottle that has a really distinct shape that you’ll never seen anywhere else, that drives the price up because then the bottle production is a specialty project.

They should sell it in a box carton like Franzia wine.

[Laughs.] Don’t know if they actually sell Tequila or Mezcal in that format. Yeah you would, uh ,definitely drive pricing down with something like that.

Have you ever been to Tijuana?

I grew up in Phoenix, Arizona so you would think that I had, but I actually I haven’t. Our little border town of note is Nogales. So I’ve been there quite a few times.

Nogales picnic doesn’t exactly have the same ring to it.

No it doesn’t have the same ring to it. I think more people know Tijuana.

So, here at Tijuana Picnic, do you guys do any really frilly stuff? You know any strange margarita offerings?

We do have a house margarita that’s Tequila and Mezcal. Its kind of like a tequila margarita meets a Mezcal margarita. And then there’s also the traditional Cointreauas the modifier with some agave nectar as well to sort of, you know, cool off all of that.

Sounds delicious. What’s another signature cocktail here?

Probably the Smoking Maid. It’s Mezcal and Jalapeno Tequila.

What’s your favorite cocktail in general and specifically on the menu at Tijuana Picnic?

My favorite cocktail in general is a Manhattan. Favorite cocktail here, I’d probably goes with the Smokin’ Maid or the House Margarita once again. The Sassy Senorita is also really good…I try to keep the bad ones off of the menu [Laughs].

Favorite food on the menu?

I’m a big fan of the wings; I love the duck wings. So good. They’re like crack. Delicious.

Ok, wrapping up here with some practical advice. Do you buy into the whole sort of technique of drinking in a certain order, like “liquor before beer?”

I’ve always just sort of found that in the end booze is booze. And you’re putting alcohol in your system and it ultimately is gonna have the same effect on you if you over-consume. But actually I will say that I think probably the worst couple of hangovers there are out there are absinthe hangovers and peated scotch hangovers just because the absinthe is really strong and has a lot of herbs and sugar in it. And the peated scotch will tend to have a lot of conjurers, which are the compounds that give alcohol spirits their flavor but they’re are also part of the toxic of the rut of the distillate.

Good to know. Any hangover cure tips?

Hair of the dog does work unfortunately because a hangover is equal parts. Well I’d say equal parts sleep deprivation because you don’t sleep properly when you drink, dehydration and alcohol withdrawals. So yeah hair of the dog certainly works. Lots of water and temperance though is usually what I’d advise. Water, rest and temperance will usually cure a hangover most permanently.

[LAUGHTER] amazing.

Courtesy of Tijuana Pacific, here are three tequila recipes to make now for National Tequila Day (and always).

Sassy Senorita

Ingredients:
3/4 parts fresh limejuice
3/4 parts strawberry syrup
1/4 part Aperol
2 strawberries, juiced
2 red pepper spears, juiced
1 part blanco tequila
1 part agricole rum
salt and pepper rim

Directions:
Combine ingredients and strain into a rocks glass with a salt and pepper rim.

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Photo: Sassy Senorita by Paul Wagtouicz, courtesy of Tijuana Picnic

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Mi Casa Margarita

Ingredients:
smoked salt rim
3/4 parts lime
1/2 part agave
1/2 part Cointreau
3/4 parts blanco tequila
3/4 parts Mezcal

Directions:
Combine fresh lime juice, agave, Cointreau, mezcal and blanco tequila. Shake and pour into a smoked salt-rimmed rocks glass.

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Photo: Mi Casa Margarita by Jason Rodriguez, courtesy of Tijuana Picnic

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Mexican Maid

Ingredients:
jalepeno infused tequila
salt and pepper rim
2 cucumber slices
5-6 mint leaves
sprig of mint
1 lime
3/4 parts agave
2 parts Mezcal

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a shaker and shake. Strain into a rocks glass with a salt a salt and pepper rim. Garnish with a cucumber slice and mint sprig.

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Photo: Mexican Maid by Jason Rodriguez, courtesy of Tijuana Picnic

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For more places to eat and drink in New York right now, check out the BlackBook City Guides.