Saturday, November 13, 2010

V-Note, New Upscale Vegan worth every penny

I took a walk over to V-Note this summer but the opening date had been set back and so I was really looking forward to eating here.  I passed by a few days after they opened and took a look at the prices.  Holy Seitan Batman, save me from sticker shock!  

As the new boy on the block don't you tip toe into the pool and after you get really really busy up the prices find the balance?  I know nothing about restaurant management but seems reasonable to lure me in, have me come back and find the prices are a buck or two higher.  I resisted and resisted and then when a "Living Social" deal for V-Note showed up in my inbox I could no longer find an excuse.  I mean, 20 bucks is 20 bucks and that was the savings.

I made a reservation for 3 and off we went.

Modern slick meets dark warm wood.

Banquette along one wall.  Personally I don't enjoy eating elbow to elbow with other diners unless a) there's no place left to sit or b) I know you very well or c) there's enough room for my butt to not knock over a water glass on the adjoining table, (in which case they're no longer elbow to elbow).

When you put this Caesar Salad in your mouth it said, "Bang!  Caesar Salad in the HOUSE!"
Although I think buying a pre-made protein like Gardein and putting a crisp on it and serving it in a very upscale restaurant is a bit of a cop out, it paired amazingly well with the salad and it was an impressively close impersonation of a Chicken Caesar Salad.

Caesar Salad
Gomashio, toasted capers, soy chicken and herbed croutons. $14

I was waiting for a bite of crabmeat and that was just silly.  One day maybe I'll taste something like it but these were close.  There was a nice taste of the ocean with a crab cake consistency, not too mushy and with a nice crunch on the outside.  The combination with the tarter sauce was indeed a memory of another dining era in my life.  Very nice dish.

Crab Cakes
Blend of hiziki seaweed, tofu, herbs and spices with a tartar sauce $10

This dish wasn't trying to be anything other than delicious.  It had a wonderful earthy flavor from the veggies and the lentils were cooked perfectly, neither mushy nor too crunchy and that combination with the crisp and doughy phyllo set this dish apart.  It all just worked so well together both in flavor and texture

Lentil Rings
French lentils and root vegetables in a phyllo crust pistachio mustard $9

11 year olds love pasta in butter or tomato sauce.  My 11 year old loves pesto and this combination with a tomato base and tomatoes, eggplant and olives under a pesto was just perfect for her ... and us too

Pasta Peccheri
Whole wheat penne, melted tomatos, roasted eggplant, calamata olives and pesto $17

I love a good seitan cutlet and this was definitely fantastic.  The seitan was light and fluffy yet had a hearty chew to it.  A nice crunch on the outside and delicious picatta ... add some mashed to the fork with the greens and to me that defines what comfort food is.

Seitan Scaloppini
Seitan cutlets in a white wine, lemon and capers sauce, mashed potatoes, and sauteed spinach $21

Feijoadinha with Smoky Tempeh
Stew of smoked roasted tempeh, black beans, chayote, and potatoes orange-lime broth.  $19

I had no idea what this was but I did find this on the Vegetarian Times website:
Feijoada (fay-zhwah-duh), the national dish of Brazil, is traditionally made with slow-cooked black beans and lots of meat.

This dish was a nice stew with a background chili smoky flavor.  The chips on top added a nice crunch and I highly recommend ordering a side of bread for sopping.  The vegetables were cooked to that wonderful place between too much crunch and too soft with a very nice mouthfeel.  It's a chunky dish and the taste memory will linger long after the bowl is empty ... and all the bread is gone.

I swear if you didn't know this wasn't cheese ... well, you'd never know.  The combination of cheesy cake and strawberry sauce and mint reminded me of why I can't order desserts.  I just do not stop if there's anything left on the plate.

I don't know how I could have this put in front of me and taken the time to get the camera, turn on the camera, take the picture, have the flash not go off and then retake the picture.  I must really be getting this impulse thing under control!

Just a bunch of smooth chocolatey deliciousness inside.  Add a little bit of ice cream on your spoon for the perfect combination of richness and flavors.  Then I discovered those little dots on the plate were chocolate and mint so of course they got all smooshed into the flavor mix too. 
I have to tell you that the waitress was a doll; happy and informative and very willing to go find out what she didn't know.  (I think I sent her back to the kitchen like 4 times during the meal).  There weren't many diners when we ate there, perhaps 4 other tables so she did have the time to spend with us, the challenge being to find the same experience when the place is packed.  That being said, we had a totally enjoyable dining experience here, great food, great service and a happy attitude.  I have to say that I still think the prices are too high but it is Manhattan.  I wish I could afford to eat hear once a week but I'll have to save this for a special occasion because it was worth every penny.

I tried a different way of writing with more captions and less text.  Let me know how you like it.
V-Note on Urbanspoon

4 comments: said...

Wow, everything looks delicious especially the chocolate cake. I'll put this place on my must visit list next time I'm in NYC.

JL goes Vegan said...

Isn't V-Note fabulous?! I keep Candle 79 in first place, but V-Note is a close second. Love the wine list, too. (and it just happens to be located around the corner from a work meeting site...lucky me!)

Marty said...

It's a close race between 79 and V-Note but I have to nudge the note ahead. Read about our little snafus at our last 79 visit.

In either case, I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Marty said...

@ I'll bet you have a pretty long list by now.