Maybe you’ve heard of Nix because you’re a vegetarian. Maybe you’ve heard of Nix because Narcissa is your favorite spot. Maybe you’ve heard of Nix because you live or work or go to school near this fast-casual-stuffed land between Washington Square Park and Union Square.
Nix is a grown-up, entirely vegetarian and vegan establishment, in an area previously lacking in both such kinds of places. But while Nix does feel like the upscale, healthy-ish restaurant that artsy NYU professors have been waiting for, this isn’t the second coming of Narcissa.
Like at the chef Jon Fraser’s other restaurants, the vegetables here don’t pretend to be something they’re not - he just knows how to make them taste good. But thanks to plenty of bread products and the use of a deep fryer, Nix also isn’t a place where you’ll eat a super healthy meal, unless you’re really making the effort. (And if you are, you should probably stick to the vegan menu - which is the same as the vegetarian menu, minus the good stuff.) Overall, the food here is tasty and interesting, but not to the level that you leave the restaurant needing to tell everyone in your life (vegetarian or otherwise) to get here immediately.
Nix hits right in the middle of the casual-to-fancy spectrum, which is another reason this is a useful addition to the neighborhood. A lot of thought clearly went into the design - there are lots of plants, expensive-looking linen napkins, and a few well-chosen pieces of art. Nix is an attractive space - but you know that feel-good vibe you get in the room at Narcissa? That feeling isn’t here.
Nix is a restaurant by and for adults - and that feeling of seriousness hangs like a chaperone over the whole experience. Kind of like you’re hanging out with a mom. A cool one, but still a mom. The kind of mom who will go in hard on a bottle of Pinot Grigio at dinner, but also isn’t at the point where she’s experimenting with “edibles” now that the kids are out of the house.
While we’re happy about what Nix brings to the neighborhood, we’re also not going to come here for any potentially sexy situations. Meeting a client? Absolutely. Hot date? Not unless you’re okay with a cool mom third wheeling.
A meal at Nix will definitely be meat-free, but probably not actually very healthy. The first reason: this bread. It’s oily and crispy and awesome, and the dips (particularly the avocado, mint and curry, and the labneh and cucumber) are great.
A lot of the menu at Nix is pretty heavy. Get one of these crunchy, tart salads for the table to help balance it all out.
No, that’s not a muppet lying dead on the plate. It’s spicy, creamy hard-boiled egg, covered in super crunchy fried potato bits. Order this.
Turns out slow roasting a beet has the same effect as slow roasting a meat: it makes it taste really good.
Another roasted vegetable, but a much less impressive one. Simple roasted carrots you could probably figure out how to make at home. Feel free to skip.
Putting avocado and mozzarella together seems like an obvious win. But this dish isn’t one. Maybe it’s the tomato water. Who actually wants that?
A deep fried, thick sheet of potato, “highly decorated” with something along the lines of sour cream, plus some broccoli and radishes. This is a fancy, fried and loaded baked potato. If you have a picky dad with you, tell him to order this just for himself. Otherwise, you don’t need it.
Our kind of DIY. You get four steamed buns, deep-fried cauliflower to stuff them with, plus a creamy white sauce and pickles to top them off. These are spicy, rich, and addictive, and you have no excuse (besides health) not to order these.