NYC Vegetarian French Bistro: Table Verte in the East Village
For New York City's vegetarians and vegans, Table Verte is a wonderful discovery. It is likely the only vegetarian restaurant in town with a menu modeled after a classic French Bistro, with deeply satisfying rustic fare that relies on fresh-from-the-farm ingredients rather than your typical soy or wheat-based proteins (tofu, seitan, etc.) buried in garlic.
Table Verte also boasts a kitchen team, led by Executive Chef Ken Larsen, with some serious skills and a whole lot of love for good food. So Table Verte is a wonderful discovery for everyone else, too, including dedicated omnivores like me.
Sampling Table Verte's Menu
I was fortunate enough to be invited to Table Verte for a spectacular sampling of seemingly the entire menu, and I must say, nearly everything was a winner. So good, in fact, that it will be tough to choose which dishes to order again when I return, which will be soon. For example, my trio of salad-y starters were all bright and lively. There was the Celeri Remoulade, a slaw-ish concoction of creamy, citrusy celery root; mustardy Lentils Vinaigrette, with tiny cubes (the "bruniose" way) of carrots, celery and leeks adding texture and flavor; and a nicely assertive Beets with Horseradish. The good news: the Table Verte menu allows you to get a generous (totally split-able) platter of all three for only $12.
Key Vegetarian Entree Choices
On the entree side of the menu I loved what has become a signature dish of Chef Larsen, the Choux Fleur Roti, which is well-roasted cauliflower florets placed atop "rosemary scented" quinoa, yams, greens and, most ingeniously, a thick fig and caper sauce. The Gnocchi Parisian au Gratin, with truffles, mornay sauce, AND Swiss cheese was bit gloppy and too heavy for the hot nights to come, but the mountain of Roasted Brussels Sprouts, sticky with a citrus glaze, amped up even further with cranberries, was excellent. I, for one, did not for a moment miss the chunks of pig that usually accompany this dish.
Decitant Desserts at Table Verte
And don't miss out on the desserts at Table Verte. I was given three rather large samplings by Chef Larsen and crew and, even after all the came before, couldn't help but happily polish the whole thing off. The smoked, roasted pineapple was terrific, smoothed out by some coconut sorbet and brightened with a blackberry sauce. The (vegan, gluten-free) Tarte au Chocolate, made with avocado "ganache" and an almond raisin crust, was as rich and decadent as you could dare hope. But best of all was the weird-sounding Aloe Temptation, the meat of which is similar in texture to the lychee and works very well, it turns out, with banana and coconut milk. For Glenwood vegetarians and those who love them, Table Verte is definitely a destination restaurant.
Table Verte: More Information and Location
Table Verte is located on East 7th Street between First Avenue and Avenue A, and is open Sunday through Thursday from 5:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m., and on Friday and Saturday until 11:00. For more information and a look at the complete Table Verte menu!