Has there ever been a better time to eat vegan? You can now find dazzling meat-free menus from star chefs in sexy settings. It’s a far cry from the sprouts/tofu/macrame days of yore. Here’s a roundup of our favorite next-gen meat-free eateries, many kosher or Jewish-inspired:
New York, Boston, Los Angeles
Chloe Coscarelli’s not too serious about vegan cuisine, which is exactly why she’s build a bi-coastal empire. Fun and whimsy are on the menu here, along with irresistible vegan/kosher plates like mac ’n cheese, BBQ sandwiches and smashing smashed avocado toast.
Author and vegan-pleasure activist Isa Moskowitz bills her fare as “swanky vegan comfort food.” With “Manhattan Glam Chowder,” truffled poutine, tomato-basil gnocchi and pumpkin praline cheesecake on the menu, Modern Love lives up to its billing.
At their Philadelphia landmark, Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby coax flavors you didn’t think possible from plant-based components. Recent standouts: Portobello carpaccio with deviled turnip, flash-seared pea leaves with dashi, wood-roasted carrots with pumpernickel. A must-visit.
Miss Rachel’s Pantry
The set dinners at Rachel Klein’s “sweet little vegan restaurant” sell out way in advance; it’s worth booking early to sample her from-the-heart wizardry. Imagine tempeh-walnut-lentil kofta in coconut-curry cream sauce, trumpet mushroom “scallop” and hearts of palm bouillabaisse, and strawberry mousse trifle with coconut cake. Bonus: It’s all kosher.
Israeli-born Tal Ronnen gained fame as Oprah’s favorite vegan chef; he’ll become yours too after a meal at his elegant L.A. hotspot. Try kabocha squash ravioli, spicy “meatballs” with almond ricotta or Ronnen’s legendary lasagna.
Apteka’s not Jewish-owned or kosher, but it’s the only vegan eatery we know that specilizes in Eastern European cuisine. That means horseradish pierogis, veg paté and pickles, and old-country staples like Slivovitz and poppyseeds in cocktails.
The Butcher’s Vegan Son
At this “vegan delicatessen,” you’ll find everything from a basic bagel with (plant-based) schmear to steaming (meatless) “Hot Deli on Rye” sandwich — that’s turkey and roast beef on rye — to luscious (non-dairy) cheesecake. The jackfruit fish-n-chips might have you swear off the marine-life version.
This hipster hangout, affiliated with vegan Champs Diner next door, gets bonus points for spotlighting Oppenheimer kosher vegan white-chocolate chips on its site for Halloween. But it’s also a standout for vegan hot pastrami breakfast sandwiches, salami sandwiches and “sloppy jack” bagels — that’s a tofu scramble with jackfruit slathered in the house’s sloppy joe sauce.
Erica and Sara Kubersky’s Lower East Side shop is as haimish as vegan gets. There’s the Edith, a bagel topped with house-made cashew cream cheese and carrot lox. There’s the Marlowe, a reuben with beet-brined seitan, Bubbie’s sauerkraut and vegan cheese on Orwasher’s rye. There’s vegan decadence in the form of rich black-and-white cookies.
From its homey Chelsea storefront, Blossom helped pioneer upscale vegan back in 2005. Jerusalem-born Ronen Seri and partner Pamela Elizabeth continue to bring it at their two Manhattan locations, with luscious plates like Moroccan tagine, cashew cream ravioli and an irresistible soy-bacon cheeseburger. The pair also spread vegan love in a much-lauded cookbook https://forward.com/food/380246/can-vibrant-new-cookbook-help-veganism-blossom/ last year.
and one to watch….
It’s only serving sandwiches on Instagram right now. But chef Mary Mattern’s Jewish-inspired deli is already making waves in Orlando, where it’s set to open this spring. “I grew up in one of the largest Hasidic Jewish communities in the United States,” the Suffern, New York native told VegNews. “Going to Jewish delis is a huge part of my childhood. I want to create that in Orlando using plants.” Stay tuned.
Michael Kaminer is a contributing editor at the Forward.