A Lotus Grows in Brooklyn

Super Omnivore Find in Midtown East
October 1, 2009, 1:24 pm
Filed under: Bars/restaurants, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tags: , , , ,


The other day I faced one of those typical vegan conundrums. You know, you have a friend/relative/coworker/stranger who wants to take you to dinner. Said individual is a lovely person but happens to enjoy a good steak, and would run for the door when confronted with tempeh or seitan. Of course, one option is to educate this person about the joys of the vegetarian lifestyle, but sometimes that’s just not the way to handle the situation. (Unless you never want to receive a Christmas present from Uncle Bill again.)

I undertand that many veggies choose not to visit restaurants that serve meat at all, in order avoid supporting the industry in any way. That’s a fine decision, but if you are more flexible with your choice of acquaintances—I love my hamburger-lovin’ friends too much to let them go just because we disagree over food policy—then you need to know about eateries that cater to all.

So then began the long search for a New York restaurant that would be nice but reasonably priced, not touristy, and satisfy all three parties involved: a meat-eater, a vegetarian, and a vegan. (Insert “walk into a bar” joke here.)

My go-to listings for vegan and veg-friendly restaurants is on SuperVegan, the repository of all NY vegan knowledge. I came up with Josie’s on 3rd Avenue at 37th Street. Its website promised to “woo and wow health-conscious and mainstream diners alike.” Leaving aside that I think healthy eating should be the mainstream, this sounded just about right.

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Verdict: Astounding! Best place ever to take your non-vegan friends! Exclamations!

Why? Because the menu, besides being very organic and eco-aware, signifies which items have dairy or chicken stock, and offers the option of soy cheese (although warning you it has casein, which is nice of them to let you know). But most items don’t even have dairy, because this is the kind of New-American-Pan-Asian-Eclectic cuisine (my term, not theirs) that respects freshness and simple flavor.

We started with spicy black bean dumplings, then I had the seared Asian marinated organic tofu salad, the vegetarian (okay, pescetarian that evening) had a the salmon, and the meat-eater had a steak (prime rib I think? I wasn’t paying attention). Dessert was a warm apple crumb pie with the most amazing vanilla soy ice cream I’ve ever tasted. And just to show how vegan-lovin’ this place is, the soy wasn’t a substitution—it’s what’s on the dessert menu!

Everyone  thought the dishes were delicious, we all went home happy, and we never even had to have the awkward conversation that starts with “You’re a vegan?!”

Sorry no photos of the food. Trust me, it was fabulous!


5 Comments so far
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I’ve been wanting to check out Josie’s so I’m glad to see another positive review. Thanks. Potatoes and broccoli are two of my favorite things ever, so those dumplings sound amazing.

FYI, if you check out the SuperVegan map instead of the list, all of the restaurants with orange markers are omni. I just did a quick test search of the area around my office, and of the nine restaurants listed, none are vegan, three are vegetarian and six serve meat. Looking at their list, it’s all veg places because they’re sorted by rating and I think most people rate vegan places higher by default (if they rate the omni paces at all).

Comment by Seitan Said Dance

Happycow has started to do the same thing, too. Its a tough line because you def want to throw all business to 100% veg restaurants, but like you I always have to have work lunches and dinners and it’d be nice to have a restaurant listing site for “dinging with the enemy” or something 🙂

Comment by Lex

Thanks for your comments! I agree, Lex, and I understand people who don’t want to support meat-tastic restaurants. But like you said, sometimes we have to compromise, and it’s nice to at least find a place that is environment- and veg-friendly.

Seitan, you’re right, too. But Josie’s doesn’t show up even in the map listings. I don’t blame SuperVegan, really. There are so many restaurants in NYC, I can’t imagine how they could be comprehensive. What I should probably do is write them and suggest they include this place instead of just bitching about it on my blog! 🙂

Comment by CarrieM213

SuperVegan has Josie’s East (the one you went to) and Josie’s West (uptown). I’m not why you weren’t able to find them, but your best bet is to go to SuperVegan’s advanced search page and choose “Search all non-vegetarian restaurants” under “How vegan should the restaurant be?”

From the menu, you can also go to “NYC Vegan Restaurants” -> “Restaurants by How Vegan They Are” -> “Not Vegetarian (decent vegan options).” SuperVegan has 280 restaurants in this category, which is the largest on the site. 🙂

Comment by Laura

Thanks for the clarification, Laura! The post has been reworked. It’s entirely possible that I’m a moron and didn’t see it! (On the map it’s hiding behind Better Burger.) 🙂

Comment by Carrie M

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