I was only vegan for a month. February—the shortest month of the year—at that. Not long enough to comprehensively explore the many vegan options in this city, but long enough to befriend some new favorites that I otherwise might have scanned past on a menu as a flexitarian.
'Kajitsu' on Serious Eats
Being a vegetarian in New York isn't the challenge it used to be, but that doesn't mean it's always easy. Sure, most restaurants these days offer one or two decent vegetarian options, but sometimes you don't want the pasta or a meal made cobbled together from side dishes. With that in mind, here are 60 recommendations for restaurants that accommodate vegetarians without disappointing carnivores.
Only after putting together my list did I realize that a full seven out of eight of the very best bites I had in New York this year were from East Asian restaurants. Not a single burger or pizza on the list!
On Day 3 of The Vegan Experience, I noted that when dining out, I often felt that I was always missing something, like a second class citizen who would only be begrudgingly catered to. But as the days have progressed, I've come to realize that with just a tiny bit of planning, it's in fact the opposite: my food choices have actually diversified since beginning my one month abstention from animal products.
Shojin-ryori, the predecessor to kaiseki cuisine devised centuries ago by Buddhist monks (and the basis for the food served at Kajitsu) has been a purely vegan cuisine from its outset. There are no wizard-like attempts to transform vegetables into meat-like products, no culinary mimicry, rather It's a cuisine that celebrates vegetables in all of their diverse glory. Kajitsu practices this tradition exceptionally well.