Here's Where to Find Truly Vegetarian Thai Food in NYC

Pad see-eiw at V{IV} | Tara Mahadevan
Pad see-eiw at V{IV} | Tara Mahadevan

The Veggielante is on a mission to spread the word about places to order good, meatless grub. Check out this week's pick.

Destination: V{IV} (717 Ninth Avenue, 212-581-5999)

Neighborhood: Hell's Kitchen

Cuisine: Thai

Overview: The first location of V{IV} (pronounced Vee-Eye-Vee) opened three years ago in Hell's Kitchen; after much success, a second location opened in Murray Hill less than a year later. V{IV}'s menu features fare from all regions of Thailand -- northern, northeastern, central, and southern -- but, unlike many Thai restaurants, it specializes in northern cuisine, including the noodle dish khao soi. V{IV}'s Hell's Kitchen location is sleek and nightclub-like, with a low lit dining area and blue accent lighting. The menu offers a pleasant surprise for vegetarians: Unlike a lot of Thai restaurants, which often use fish sauce in dishes made without animal protein, the restaurant's food specifically caters to those on meat-free diets. Portions are large and prices are affordable.

Highlights: V{IV}'s pad see-eiw ($11.95) is a standard northern Chinese-influenced Thai dish that is often eaten in Thailand and neighboring Laos. Traditionally, pad see-eiw is served with broad rice noodles, Chinese broccoli, egg, soy sauce, and garlic, and it's typically cooked in fish sauce. V{IV}'s hews to that line, but if you consult your waiter, you can get the fish sauce here swapped for garlic sauce, making your dish entirely vegetarian.

You'll also have a choice between tofu and the restaurant's special imitation duck, which is tofu fried with seitan -- and the end result looks quite different from tofu. Pictured above is the imitation duck, which has a slightly chewy texture. V{IV}'s version of pad see-eiw strikes a delicious balance between sweet, savory, sour, and spicy; exchanging the fish sauce for garlic sauce gives the dish an extra pungent kick.

Another crowd favorite from among the dozens of vegetarian options is the cashew king ($11.95 to $13.95), which features roasted cashew nuts, onions, scallions, pineapple, bell peppers, and carrots, with your choice of tofu or imitation duck.

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Viv Bar and Restaurant

717 9th Ave.
New York, NY 10019

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