When Eleven Madison Park announced that it would be going plant-based, the food world was abuzz. Could New York's so-called top restaurant really get away with charging $335 for a vegan menu? And would it be any good? Now, according to a certain restaurant critic at The New York Times, it appears that both answers are no.
So skip the hype and find a veggie-centric tasting menu worth your splurge.
There's plenty of truly excellent plant-based cuisine in New York City, many of which aren't served in a prix fixe format. But if you want the freedom from decision making (and scouring a typical restaurant menu for veg-friendly options), try these excellent, high-end, plant-based tasting menus:
One of New York's OG plant-based upscale restaurants, Amanda Cohen's legendary Dirt Candy is where you go for seasonal veggies done right. The five-course tasting menu goes for $85 per person (tip included), and the offerings change frequently. Expect dishes like cucumber and vegetable caviar savory doughnuts, a creamy celebration of mushrooms on a plate and chocolate Brussels sprouts ice cream. It's real, and it rules. After a meal at Dirt Candy, we dare you to think about vegetables in the same way.
Serving Japanese shojin cuisine, an ancient Japanese culinary practice developed in Zen Buddhist monasteries, Kajitsu serves one of the most refined vegetarian menus in NYC. $120 buys a 10-course omakase, which also includes dessert and matcha. The menu changes monthly, though is structured similarly, with a soup course, rice course, fried dish, soba noodle and many more delights.
Celebrity chef Eric Ripert's fine dining establishment is oft listed as one of the best in its caliber in the city. And though the standard menu is seafood-focused, Le Bernardin serves a mean vegetarian tasting menu. $220 gets you eight seasonal courses like a hearts of palm carpaccio, vegetable bouillabaisse with anise-saffron broth, truffle tagliatelle and more decadent courses.
Chef Daniel Boulud's eponymous Upper East Side fine dining destination recently reopened following a major reno, and with it comes a new prix-fixe ready for plant-obsessed contemporary diners. A four-course vegetarian prix-fixe of modern French cuisine goes for $181 and may include fennel with creamy white barley, a cauliflower curry with black mustard greens or einkorn berries with concord grapes and roasted endive.
Envisioned as a "vegetarian shrine in another place in time" this Koreatown restaurant is a perfect culinary escape. A seasonal prix-fixe is $69 per person, with an abbreviated lunch menu at $30. Dishes include kimchi stew served in a boat, an appetizer assortment of dumplings, pancakes and more, plus the choice of entree, like braised tofu.
The Michelin-starred restaurant newly led by executive chef Mary Attea has added a vegan tasting menu to its prix-fixe options. Courses include a pistachio fig tart, house sourdough bread service, grilled lotus root with ponzu gel and accoutrements, roasted maitake with celery root and cashew puree and several more courses, finishing with an apple cider ice cream. The star of the $95 menu may just be the fancy heirloom baked potato, served with roasted potato skin dashi with smoked soy, truffle sauce, shaved black truffle, confit potatoes, pickled potatoes and potato soup poured on top.