NYC Summer ’18 Vegan Restaurant Guide- 90’s/00’s Remix

While I do believe that my Classic vs. Cool NYC guide which I wrote a few years ago mostly stands the test of time, I am now officially a ~*~New York resident~*~, which has exposed me to a bunch of new places, particularly vegan restaurants. Chiefly because I find straight up recommendation lists to be boring in an age of Yelp and geotags, I’ve paired some of my current favorite places with a beloved 90’s/00’s persona who I could imagine enjoying a repast in a parallel universe.

Jajaja

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Jajaja is likely where 2018 NYC Cher Horowitz would invite the-guy-she-didn’t-know-was-gay (Christian?), in an attempt to seem cool and hip. My (decidedly not gay) boyfriend and I went last weekend for dinner and were the only non-Insta models/trendily tattooed people in the place. One of my favorite fitness accounts, @sweatsandthecity was there ostensibly a couple of hours after us, and had the same waitress as us!

An all-vegan and semi-healthy place (with the potential to be pretty indulgent!), it’s similar to By Chloe but less overrun by tweens, and with much better food overall. We checked out the LES location which has standard hours, but there’s also a brand-new Brooklyn branch, which is currently weekends-only.

The trendy hanging plants and cactus-festooned alcoholic concoctions were to be expected based on a cursory glance of their feed, but we were pleasantly surprised by the quantity and quality of the food.

We both were so starving that we contemplated eating a protein bar in the Uber (but didn’t), and instead opted to split a vegan nachos appetizer in the smaller size. This dish was not small at all, and honestly could’ve probably satisfied two not-starving people alone.

For my main dish, I ordered the coconut queso quesadillas, while Ben sampled the “fish” tacos (made from chayote) and the hijiki-coconut tacos. The servings themselves weren’t outrageous, but filled with hefty ingredients like chipotle almond butter and coconut cheese. We both had a decent amount of food left over on our entree plates, which is, sadly, a rarity.

I’m confident vegans and non-vegans alike would have an amazing time, as long as they arrive adequately hungry. We are already planning to return for brunch!

VSPOT Organic

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I’m pretty sure that VSPOT would be the biannual meet-up locale for blissfully basic Brooklyn Heights mom Lizzie McGuire and Bed Stuy-based barista Miranda Sanchez. Their friendship went through an awkward phase when Lizzie didn’t invite Miranda to her Cabo bachelorette, knowing she’d hate wearing matching monokinis and taking margarita cheers-ing Boomerangs (and couldn’t afford it anyway on her Think Coffee salary). But a couple years later, they’re on the road to repairing things over vegan arepas and Jamaican empanadas.

If you like Latin food in general, I’d recommend the massive bandeja paisa sampler which includes an arepa, seitan carne molida, rice, beans, and plantains, all prepared in el estilo colombiano, pero, like, vegan.

My roommate highly recommends the avocado fries, while my boyfriend’s favorite dish is the Philly Wrap, a quasi-cheesesteak sans steak, but draped in vegan cheese.

I go a lot for lunch since the Park Slope location is around the corner from my apartment, and is a decent deal for the neighborhood. Typically, I get the $4 (!!!) arepa tradicional with either their kale Caesar salad, featuring succulent tempeh bacon ($12) or a side of curried kale with chickpeas ($6). I always leave feeling satiated but not stuffed.

Both the Park Slope and St. Marks locations are excellent, though service in Brooklyn tends to be slower, especially during the day.

Franchia

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Living on an international space station in the highly globalized 21st century has exposed Zenon to just about every cuisine, with one of her favorites being vegan Korean. While she might occasionally get shushed by her parents when they dine in the more austere Park Avenue environment, she would attempt to rein in her enthusiasm long enough to take a VR video of the cool ceiling to send to Protozoa as inspo for their latest music visual. (Little known fact: Zenon is the great-grand daughter of David LaChapelle!)

Stylized like a traditional Korean tea house with a triplex twist, Franchia is an elegant and satisfying experience for lunch or dinner. Their menu is too comprehensive to list, offering just about every iteration of sushi, salad, soup, dumpling, and fake chicken/duck/beef combo from hot pots to noodles. It’s easy to over order here due to the variety of the menu.

I’ve tried bibimbap and stone bowls from 3 or 4 other Korean restaurants across three boroughs since I moved here, and none of them have come remotely close to being as good as those from Franchia. So far I’ve stuck with the vegan duck and tempeh iterations, but I’m excited to try others too. Also on my radar to try is their tea service and desserts!

 

 

 

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