Eating Vegetarian Food in New York
Vegetarian travel gets easier in the summer, when farmers markets and their bounteous produce draw tourists and local chefs. Summer is also know for outdoor eating, and New York City has one of the best (I’m slightly biased) eating extravaganzas, Smorgasburg. Actually, make that two. Smorgasburg has two Brooklyn locations, one in Williamsburg on Sundays and another in DUMBO on Saturdays.
These seasonal markets have dozens of vendors, almost all with vegetarian choices (though pulled pork and bacon are key ingredients at many stands). But for vegetarians, there is Indian food, artisan tofu, veggie hot dogs, couscous and hummus,. At one stand, you can get eggs cooked to order; at another, Filipino rice porridge with tofu or grilled tofu and shiitake mushrooms.
There are picnic tables, and local beer is for sale.
Both neighborhoods have excellent sit-down restaurants for vegetarians as well.
Gran Electrica, in DUMBO, has authentic Mexican food in a hip setting, with hand-pressed tortillas and inventive, seasonal cocktails.
I love Five Leaves, on the cusp of Williamsburg and Greenpoint. The kale salad, a now ubiquitous restaurant staple, transcends the genre. The gouda and hazelnuts make it more substantial. There is also a salad with quinoa and goat cheese, and another with beets and olives.
You could make a meal of the salad and the fresh, home made ricotta, served with figs and bread, but there is also beet ravioli and excellent fish.
But if you must cross the river into Manhattan, Smorgsburg has a new location at the South Street Seaport. SmorgasBar, open daily, has 2 bars emphasizing local beer wine and liquor. But it is still kid- and vegetarian-friendly, with a rotating cast of a dozen food vendors.
In the first weekend, there were artisan grilled cheese sandwiches, excellent veggie hot dogs and rice bowls. There were also slushies made with local fresh fruit and organic ice cream.
SmorgasBar is in a pedestrian plaza, so it is a perfect place to bring young kids.