What do you do when your friend is vegetarian but you love meat and hate earnest vegetarian restaurants? Can you recommend any non-vegetarian restaurants that have stand-out vegetarian options?
The good news here is that the city’s current fixation with all things farm-to-table means that non-vegetarian restaurants that offer herbivores nothing but a token pile of flaccid vegetables sodden with “special” sauce are no longer the rule but the exception. Honestly, unless you’re hell-bent on going to a steakhouse, ramen joint, or Fatty ‘Cue, your options are fairly vast.
One of my favorites is Buttermilk Channel (524 Court Street, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn; 718-852-8490), which offers both regular and vegetarian menus. The latter features creative, thoughtfully prepared entrées like a stellar cranberry bean-fennel stew and cheddar waffles with roasted mushrooms and pole beans.
Similar creativity prevails across the river at the Green Table (75 Ninth Avenue, 212-741-9174), Mary Cleaver’s restaurant in the Chelsea Market. The menu changes somewhat frequently, but puts vegetables front and center, whether they’re sharing a plate with a filet of beef or starring in a vegetarian pot pie. Likewise, the folks across town at Northern Spy Food Co. (511 East 12th Street, 212-228-5100) may have gained a following for their house-made head cheese and chicken and egg sandwich, but their kale, almond and clothbound cheddar salad is a favorite around the Voice office, as is the freekeh risotto.
And, of course, there are countless ethnic restaurants that cater to both meat-eaters and their herbivorous compatriots. We’ve always been partial to the wealth of meatless mezze at places like Tanoreen (7523 Third Avenue, Bay Ridge, Brooklyn; 718-748-5600) and Café Mogador (101 St. Marks Place, 212-677-2226), and thrilled to the many vegetarian delicacies available at Indian restaurants like Tabla (11 Madison Avenue, 212-889-0667), Tamarind Tribeca (99 Hudson Street; 212-775-9000) and Southern Spice (143-06 45th Avenue, Flushing, Queens; 718-359-3486).
All of which is to say that the city is more or less your oyster. Or, depending on your preferences, your cranberry bean.
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