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Photo: Jodie Love

Critics' pick


Garden variety

Leave the exclusive practices of secret supper clubs to the Whisk & Ladles of the world. For four years, chef Matthew “Matteo” Silverman, 31, has conjured a far more diplomatic underground dinner party at his weekly meatless feast, 4 Course Vegan. For a mere $40, guests can tuck into an ever-changing menu of vegan vittles—that’s no animal products of any kind—while kibitzing family-style with their fellow diners. TONY’s recent visit found us breaking bread in the company of 13 other adventurous eaters clustered around two tables in Matteo’s hidden loft (reachable via a maze of hallways, courtyards and staircases on a shady Billyburg block). Matteo delivers each course before tiptoeing back to the kitchen—a closet-size corner of his apartment—to conjure more elegantly styled, cleverly articulated eats that won’t leave you asking, “Where’s the beef?” Thinly sliced rounds of jicama were folded over creamy “cashew cheese”—a blend of soaked and ground cashews and fermented water—forming delicate half-moon ravioli propped against cubes of watermelon. Shockingly spicy dehydrated onion rings were dipped in tahini, rolled in black and brown sesame seeds and Turkish chilies, and served over cooling sliced beets and peppery watercress. Sautéed okra and savory chickpea succotash thickened with homemade almond milk topped pillowy cornmeal beignets. It’s a no-risk proposition for vegans and omnivores alike. Should meat pangs strike, Peter Luger is just five blocks away.

For more info or to make reservations, call 718-599-5913 or visit $40.

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