Where in Westchester to Dine As — or With — a Vegan
These spots are the 'cream' of the crop when it comes to green eating.
Let’s start with the good news: it’s entirely possible to find delicious vegan meals throughout Westchester. The not-so-good news? There are few entirely vegan restaurants—or even vegetarian ones, for that matter. Dining out means left-swiping through the menu to find a dish free of animal products, or requesting substitutions with fingers crossed (I was married to a vegan—enough said). Herewith, your best bets for bliss:
Pureganic Cafe's house-made vegan charcuterie board.
Pureganic Cafe (vegan, organic, kosher)
46 Purchase St, Rye; 914.967.2332
The “charcuterie” starter arrived on a tree slab: juicy portobello carpaccio, beet tartare with mustard, delectable onion/walnut/lentil pâté, and almond-based “cheeze,” served with warm, surprisingly delicate seed bread bound by psyllium. Owner Moshira Soliman expanded on what was Andy’s Pure Food to include more cooked dishes such as mushroom “meatball” sliders and mac & cheeze with shiitake bacon, but it’s still ground zero for a juice cleanse. Desserts reach new heights with maple-sweetened pecan pie and a gorgeous apple tart; the cheesecake might just convert you.
Jolo’s Kitchen (vegan)
412 North Ave, New Rochelle; 914.355.2527
Jolo Moise has been carrying the vegan torch in Westchester for 10 years, and the warm, One Love vibe practically emanates from the floorboards. Expect to be shown what’s ready at the counter — it might be fluffy Jamaican coco bread, perfectly cooked black-eyed peas and Brussels sprouts, or seriously spicy jerk falafel — with a gesture toward the patties; hope for a triangular mashed-lentil one with a flaky crust. Mock meats, such as soy-based veggie ribs with cooked onions, satisfy larger appetites. Have these with the Chocolate Lover smoothie: raw cacao, sea moss, almonds, hemp milk, and agave. The space is modest, but choosing from anything on the menu? Luxury.
An ethnic dish made vegan with incredible texture, spice, and local, organic ingredients. Photo courtesy of Good Choice Kitchen.
Good Choice Kitchen (vegan, organic, local)
147 Main St, Ossining; 914.930.1591
This year old eatery is worth a northward trek — as is any place that makes almond milk each day (get it with turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, and maple syrup). Laurie Gershgorn, trained at the Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts (the “vegan Cordon Bleu”), has created a cheerful spot with original art, bowls of trivia cards, and a wall-size whiteboard listing cooking classes and events. The menu dances through all-day breakfast, Asian- and Indian-inspired savory bowls, Caesar salad with gluten-free croutons, and combo plates with polenta and mac ’n’ cheese. We loved the sunflower chia pudding we pulled from the cooler, and flatbread piled with warm, garlicky greens and ricotta-like nut cheese, which we ordered to go but devoured on the spot while reading a children’s book from a basket.
Rosemary & Vine's vegan shakshuka with Treeline nut cheese, which takes place of the egg usually found in this dish.
Rosemary & Vine (vegetarian with vegan selections, locavore)
29 Purchase St, Rye; 914.481.8660
It comes alive at night with craft beer, Tuesday wine flights, and a smokin’ jazz night on Wednesdays, saffron-scented tagine and pomegranate-seed babaganoush. But breakfast makes a case for “date morning” — at a sunny front table, all the better — with cocktails (try the mimosa with house-made hibiscus syrup), coffee from Tarrytown’s Coffee Labs, and organic teas. Vegan shakshuka subs in creamy za’atar-dusted nut cheese and seared organic tofu atop the classic tomato stew to great effect. Pancakes with blueberry compote and halva crumble, Lebanese flatbread with chopped salad, and a turmeric, cumin, and rosemary tofu scramble make it hard to choose.
Sweet Grass Grill (omnivore/locavore with vegan selections)
24 Main St, Tarrytown; 914.631.0000
A pioneer of local sourcing in the area, this upscale hotspot across from Tarrytown Music Hall has such a crunchy buzz that some are surprised to find they serve meat (grass-fed, of course). People rave about the Philly cheesesteak made with grilled seitan — just note that it's available weekdays only (it takes the weekend off to marinate). Carnitas tacos are made with jackfruit — related to figs and mulberries; Buffalo tempeh on a potato roll with aioli and pickled onions packs a tangy punch. Sip a cocktail made with small-batch spirits at a bar carved out of an oak tree from the nearby Rockefeller estate.
Mock "shrimp" at Vietnam Central.
Vegan dishes are traditional worldwide. Lalibela Ethiopian Cuisine (37 South Moger Ave, Mount Kisco; 914.864.1343) has a vegan section on its menu (something more restaurants should consider, as the number of vegans has quintupled in the past 4 years. Is that a fly on my menu, or a tiny “v”?). Get the Ethiopian coffee, poured from an earthenware pot. The vegetarian menu at new Vietnam’s Central (694 Central Ave, Scarsdale; 914.723.7222) is mostly vegan: mock shrimp, beef, and chicken with four sauces brimming with slow-cooked complexity; tofu vegetable pho; warm, comforting coconut-milk tapioca pudding with cubes of taro and crushed peanuts. At Blockheads (40 Mamaroneck Ave, White Plains; 914.288.8070), a Mexican chain-let that opened its first location outside Manhattan here last year, vegan burritos roll with seitan and Thai peanut sauce, curried cauliflower and carrots, spinach and butternut squash. And I have had happy vegan meals at top-notch vegetarian kosher Indian restaurant Navaratna (133 Atlantic St, Stamford; 203.348.1070), which offers a $6.95 lunchbox to go.
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