Tag Archives: Vegan

Curly’s Comfortable Quirky {and Vegetarian} Cafe

Curly's Coloring Wall

Sometimes you just want a good lunch spot that doesn’t involve greasy burgers or burritos. Thanks to a lovely lunch with a vegetarian friend I was introduced to Curly’s, a new meat-free twist on the classic diner menu. Before you run in the other direction, let me assure you it’s not just all lettuce and celery sticks.

Curly’s was originally a cafe that opened in 1927 in Manchester, NH and served the locals a traditional menu of bacon & eggs, meatloaf & beans, among other hearty items. Inspired by the comfort quotient, but with the desire to lighten the fare, a new kind of Curly’s was opened in Manhattan to rave reviews.

As you scroll down the menu you’ll see sections for burgers and burritos, which may make you take pause with the understanding that this was supposed to be vegetarian. But upon closer examination you’ll notice the items listed include a fauxphilly cheesesteak, crabfake po’ boy or a TLT sandwich {made of tofu bacon, lettuce, tomato and soy nayo, naturally}. No, these are not typos, but clever riffs on classics. Sure, you may need to swallow your protein pride in favor of tofu and soy, but I promise that these items do not fall short on flavor or satisfaction…or a sense of humor for that matter.

The Skim: Beyond just the comfort of the menu, Curly’s is cozied by the placemat art wallpapering its sunshine yellow walls. Each one-of-a-kind has been designed by patrons while they patiently wait for lunch, making use of the crayons that grace each table alongside the salt and pepper. Curly’s is a place with personality and it won’t leave you in a post-noon food coma — a refreshingly recast dining option.

Map: 328 East 14th {Btw 1st and 2nd ave}
Reservations: Not Taken
Phone: 212.598.9998

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NYC Best: Purely Good Food & Wine

Niwa Maki of Avocado, Enoki Mushrooms, Pickled Heirloom Baby Carrots

If someone were to invite you to dinner to eat raw vegan food, your first inclination might be to run for the closest burger joint, laughing the entire way.  I’m sure your mind is picturing things like shots of wheatgrass or a plate of cucumbers and carrots, but there is more to the essence of raw vegan food than juices and crudites.  Raw Vegan defined: Pure Food & Wine’s
menu is entirely plant based and does not use any processed ingredients. Nothing is heated above approximately 118 degrees in order to preserve vitamins, minerals, and enzymes. But while there is a certain science behind this way of life, the essence of Pure Food & Wines food is elegant, complex and intriguing from start to finish.

Let’s start with the niwa maki of avocado, enoki mushrooms, pickled heirloom baby carrots with asparagus, mango, scallions, spicy aioli. The presentation is as beautiful as any roll I was lucky to order in Tokyo and the range of flavors and textures provided the perfect wrapped package of, well, raw ingredients.

Hazelnut Crostinis with Crimini Mushrooms and Caper Bearnaise

Hazelnut Crostinis with Crimini Mushrooms and Caper Bearnaise

And then there was the hazelnut crostinis with crimini mushrooms and caper bearnaise with caraway sauerkraut, local apple cider reduction. Um, yes. I can’t even explain how they created something so creamy, with no actual cream. But when you take a bite, the crunchy nuttiness of the crostini, topped with the earthy, pickly and slightly sweet scoop of mysteriously raw and vegan goodness is just pure good food in its unsimplest, simple form.

Pad Thai with Kelp Noodles and Baby Bok Choy

Pad Thai with Kelp Noodles and Baby Bok Choy

I could have stopped there and felt like one lucky duck, but for an entree I ordered up the pad thai with kelp noodles, baby bok choy, snow peas, king oyster mushrooms, tamarind sauce, sesame salted cashews, cilantro oil. All good things. All together. Pure. Raw. And Outstanding. The flavors are so refreshing and with so much depth, I would venture to say if someone took you there and never told you what kind of restaurant this is, you would never know the difference. And not to be outdone by the food menu, Pure’s bar ranges from organic and biodynamic wines to seasonal sake cocktails.

The Skim: Or should I say, the skinny.  If you’re truly a New York foodie, then you can’t stop at visiting the best steak house, burger joint or lobster shack. You must pay a visit to the purely good Pure Food & Wine and see what it means to combine raw vegan food with haute cuisine. I’ll tell you one thing, you’ll feel great when you get up from the table, no matter how many of those crostini you take down.

Map: 54 Irving Place
Reservations: Taken!
Phone: 212.477.1010

Christina is an unapologetic carnivore, but knows a good thing when she tastes it — whether it’s raw steak tartar or raw pad thai made of kelp. 


Filed under Eat Here!, NYC Best