Category Archives: Top NYC Restaurants

Power? Breakfast at the Lambs Club

Lambs ClubWhere do you go for a power breakfast in New York City?  The obvious answer, for years, was apparently the Loews Regency (so I read).  But they closed for renovation, so New York’s wheelers-and-dealers are apparently adrift.  This, of course, means there is a free-for-all among the restaurateurs who charge too much for eggs.  The Lambs Club gets a fair amount of discussion, but if a recent visit is at all typical, the Lambs Club’s power breakfast needs a backup generator. Continue reading

Not Frugal Friday — American Airlines First Class

American Airlines First Class -- Champagne

Are you looking for vegetarian food on American Airlines in first/business class?  Well you’re in luck, sort of.  As I recently mentioned, when you fly cross-country in a premium cabin, you can pre-select your entree, and there is typically (at least the four times I’ve selected an entree) a vegetarian option.  So far so good.  But, selecting a vegetarian entree and getting a vegetarian meal are two different things, because the first course is typically not vegetarian.  don’t learn from my mistakes, I forgot to request a vegetarian meal the next time I flew AA as well.  So here, combined, are my two reviews.  Surprisingly, even though I was flying the exact same flight (AA 85, JFK-SFO), the meal was a lot better the second time. Continue reading

Butter — 2.5 Stars

A few years ago, Gossip Girl made the restaurant/nightclub Butter famous. It was, if the show was to be believed, the hangout of choice for super-wealthy New York teenagers. Whatever the truth to that assertion, Butter today is a solid restaurant with good vegetarian options. However, it’s not the kind of place that (at least on culinary quality alone) can command the kinds of prices charged. Continue reading

Aquavit — 3 Stars

A couple of months ago, I went to Aquavit, the restaurant started by celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson.  Marcus isn’t at Aquavit anymore, but the restaurant is still quite well-regarded; it got one star in Michelin’s 2013 ratings, and Sam Sifton gave it two stars for the New York Times.  Overall, I like Aquavit.  It’s a different experience — Nordic food isn’t all that common in New York — and, though it’s generally seafood- and meat-heavy, I haven’t had much trouble getting vegetarian food on my visits there. Continue reading

Cafe Boulud — 4 stars


If you’re looking for great vegetarian food in a classic, upscale atmosphere on the Upper East Side, Cafe Boulud is a great choice.  Earlier this year, I reviewed Boulud Sud, part of the Lincoln Center-area trio of Boulud restaurants.  If you’re following me on twitter, you know that a little while ago, I ventured to the UES to Cafe Boulud, the slightly more relaxed counterpart to the chef’s flagship restaurant, Daniel.  Cafe Boulud gets one Michelin star and Frank Bruni gives it three stars for the Times.  I recently went there for lunch and was quite impressed, both with the quality of the food and the vegetarian selections. Continue reading

Hakkasan’s Menu Looks Promising…

…for vegetarians.

If you’ve walked down 43rd Street between 8th and 9th Avenues in Manhattan, you may have noticed this foreboding doorway on the north side of the street (just past the 99-cent pizza place).  This is the doorway to the (in?)famous Hakkasan, a worldwide network of high-end Chinese restaurants.  The original, in London, has garnered a Michelin star.  But Pete Wells was much more critical, referring to “lunatic prices” — you can pay $888 for abalone tuna with truffles — and “food that is, in too many cases, about as interesting as a box of paper clips”.   Continue reading

Bouley — 5 Stars

When you walk into Bouley, the eponymous flagship restaurant of Chef David Bouley, you’re immediately hit with the scent of apples — the walls of restaurant’s anteroom are lined with apples, from wall to wall and floor to ceiling.  This is a preview of what’s to come:  ingredients and ideas that are familiar, repurposed in a way that is somewhere on the edge between crazy and genius.  All the while, Chef Bouley’s menu incorporates vegetarian options, making this one Michelin stared TriBeCa restaurant quite vegetarian friendly.  In terms of quality, presentation, and service, Bouley was spectacular. Continue reading

The NoMad Rooftop — 4 Stars

The rooftop restaurant at the NoMad hotel is probably the most talked-about new restaurant in New York this summer — with the possible exception of the regular, indoor restaurant at the NoMad.  (If you’re interested in a vegetarian-focused review of the NoMad restaurant, check out my review here.)  The “downstairs” restaurant got three stars from the New York Times and I understand that the rooftop — which operates as a separate restaurant, with a separate staff and kitchen — is aiming for at least that caliber of service, if not higher.  I think they’re well on their way.  The food and service were very good, and though I have a few small quibbles, they’re mostly logistical, not substantive.  With a little tweaking, I think the rooftop could claim a spot among the city’s best restaurants. Continue reading

Le Cirque — 2 stars

Le Cirque, a French restaurant on midtown’s East Side, is a New York institution. It has been around for decades and can be counted on for “old school” classic dishes like foie gras and lobster thermidor. But how does it treat vegetarians? As it turns out, this New York culinary mainstay isn’t that great for the herbivores among us, and the food, though potentially promising, misses the mark. Continue reading

Babbo — 3.5 Stars

I’ve long wanted to go to Babbo, the restaurant by celebrity chef Mario Batali.  For some reason I just hadn’t made it there, but when I heard that they were going to start serving lunch, I made it a point to go.   I had a really good experience — Babbo has decent options for vegetarians and the quality is impressive.   Continue reading