When you think of vegetarian cuisine, are the first dishes that come to mind lackluster salads, bland quinoa, and boring veggies?
If so, you’re not alone. In fact, I often lovingly refer to this type of fare as “rabbit food,” despite the fact that it makes up 80 percent of my diet. And then I had dinner at Nix, and my pre-conceived notions about vegetarianism flew straight out the window.
Nix, located in N.Y.C.’s Union Square neighborhood, is the newest eatery from chef John Fraser, the man behind popular restaurants Narcissa and Dovetail. The impressive menu, which is divided into subcategories labeled “First Order,” “Lighter,” and “Bolder,” features beautifully-plated dishes (many of them vegan, and made with ingredients from the Union Square Greenmarket) inspired by a variety of cuisines and cultures.
Take, for example, the golden, herbaceous Tandoor bread served with thick Mediterranean spreads, like labneh, spiced eggplant, and house-made hummus. Follow it with Cantonese-inspired cauliflower tempura wrapped in pillowy steamed buns, or shiitake “cacio e pepe” resting in a bowl of salsify and heirloom polenta—a rich and creamy ode to Italia.
Equally decadent is the Yukon potato fry bread, a dish that's already making a name for itself around town. The fluffy, crispy creation comes topped with sour cream, white cheddar, shaved scallions, radish petals, and tiny broccoli florets. It’s the savory version of a classic carnival funnel cake and tastes just as sinful.
To wash everything down, order one of Nix’s innovative cocktails (like the Valentine, made with Marcona almond milk, fresh rose, and sake) or house-made sodas, which come in a variety of intriguing flavors like plum and five spice, carrot and saffron, and blackberry and juniper.
I had to skip dessert on account my fry bread overindulgence, but the couple seated next to me was insistent that I return for the vegan chocolate mousse cake. And so I will.
Whether you’re looking for top-notch vegetarian fare or simply a delicious meal, Nix is a must-visit.