We get scolded a lot for not having enough strictly Vegetarian restaurants reviewed on The Infatuation. The problem is, most of them just aren't that good and smell like un-showered human. We're in the business of delivering the goods on our recommendations, not sending people dumpster diving. When we're looking to impress our ambitious plant based friends, Kajitsu, Dirt Candy and Pure Food and Wine always make us look good. Those restaurants push the boundaries of vegetarian cuisine with elaborate, impressive cooking. Sometimes though -actually, most of the time - veggie diners don't necessarily need to have their Birkenstocks knocked off at dinner. They just want a hearty, reasonably priced meal that doesn't suck, which is why Angelica Kitchen is slammed every night.
Angelica Kitchen is a vegetarian eating establishment that's been an East Village staple for years. It's always listed amongst the veg elite, and for good reason. Even us pork consuming heathens can admit this stuff tastes good. Yes, we like vegetables. Don't act so surprised.
Here are some things you need to know about Angelica Kitchen. It's all plant based, they serve no eggs, no dairy and clearly, no meat. The menu is huge and rotating daily specials keep things fresh. It's cash only and BYOB, so come ready to pay with green and your own bottle of wine, there's no corkage. They don't take reservations, and there's usually a wait, but they move people along briskly. The room, which transports me directly back to my college days in the eccentric hippie town of Ithaca, NY, hasn't been updated in over a decade, so don't go expecting some state of the art, leed certified facility. When we're not face deep in a dragon bowl, People Watching is our favorite Angelica activity. The crowd is a beautiful melting pot of the vegetarian culture's finest, of all different shapes, ages, colors, ink and hoarding tendencies. Soak it all in. Hopefully you won't get stuck at a table next to some woman with hairy pits wearing a tank top who hasn't bathed in a couple weeks.
The menu is huge. You could eat something different here for two months straight, but we always come back for the bowls. A fairly simple concept; lots of stuff. Rice, beans, tofu, sea vegetables, steamed vegetables and whatever else you want to take out or throw into the mix, all with your favorite dressing. While it doesn't sound all that exciting, there's something deliciously addicting about these things. It's all about the black sesame dressing with wasabi and garlic, that's the glory glue that makes it everything so good.
A smooth spread of cashews and chickpeas with ground curry and miso in the mix as well. A solid app, that comes with some veggies to dip.
One of our other favorite things to eat here when we skip a day of dragon bowls. It's amazing how strands of daikon radish, zucchini squash & carrot can be delightfully fulfilling, but mix them up with garlic-lemon marinated kale in a zesty Thai dressing and you've got yourself a solid meal.
This surely isn't Sushi Of Gari, but we're not mad at the plant sushi Angelica churns out. Their Norimaki entree sports nine rolls of assorted vegetable sushi with a tasty lemon-tamari dipping sauce.
Simple and spot on. Kale with miso marinated tofu feta, diced sun-dried tomatoes, toasted walnuts with olive oil, lemon & garlic. Order it.
People love this sandwich at Angelica. It's essentially a veggie burger made with tempeh, an Asian soy product, on a sourdough baguette with mushroom gravy over raw spinach. For those with a big appetite, this is the route to go.
A rotating menu of desserts may not feature dairy or sugar, but are surprisingly good. Don't sleep.