Several friends had warmly recommended Kashkaval before I had a chance to drop by. It’s located in the vicinity of Columbus Circle, which is a restaurant wasteland unless you have a wad of cash to wave around.
The front is a grocery store specializing in cheese, cold cuts, and salad, and these same substances form the core of the menu. The salads on display in the cold case are a particularly good deal, you can readily go vegetarian or vegan and have a wonderful meal.
The $18 assortment of six, chosen from a list of 22, includes many familiar and unfamiliar choices, and easily feeds four or five as an appetizer, or two or even three as a main course. The waitress readily provides a wealth of warmed pitas, and you can get even more if you ask.
Flip over to see our vegan meal at Kashkaval
The place also functions as a wine bar, and the darkened, L-shaped room in the back provides several obscure corners–perfect for that romantic date.
Here is the selection of six “Mediterranean tapas” we ordered, beginning at 12 o’clock and proceeding clockwise:
Dolma (stuffed grape leaves)–the only dud selection on the plate; they taste canned
Lentil “tapenade”–Chunky pureed lentils with a nice unexpected depth-charge of cumin
Babaganoush–one of the best, and smokiest, in town
Brussels sprouts–pleasantly verdant and plain
Walnut pepper spread–zingy, unusual, and Circassian
Beet “skordalia”–Beets instead of the usual potatoes? Not a bad idea.
856 Ninth Avenue (at 56th Street)
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