Pete Wells Awards New Vegetarian Restaurant, Nix, 2 Stars
In his latest review, Pete Wells tells us what the atmosphere is really like at the new Greenwich Village vegetarian restaurant, Nix: sexy. With descriptions that include, “heavy eye contact,” “carnivorous,” and “hedonic”, you would think you were reading a review on something quite more scandalous than, well, vegetables.
Regardless, Wells makes it clear that gone are the days of plain, boring vegetables. He writes, “Not long ago, vegetarian restaurants in the United States were the last place you’d expect to see people who looked as if they couldn’t wait to go home and have non-tantric sex… The crackle in the air at Nix and other recent meatless restaurants is what you get when you liberate vegetables from vegetarianism.” In less poetic terms, chef Nicolas Farias and chef John Fraser of Dovetail, are changing the way people view a vegetarian diet. Vegetables don't have to be bland and can even evoke memories of chilling on a floor, “eating Chinese food out of a takeout box,” asserts Wells.
Now on to the food. Wells recommends beginning the meal, “with a wheel of flatbread baked in the tandoor, and a cup of raw young vegetables or one of the dips.” he goes on write that “The red-pepper walnut spread is a wonderful take on muhammara, while the crushed avocado with mint and chai curry powder is fun because it looks like guacamole and isn’t.” He also is a fan of the “bolder” section of the menu.
“Here you will find the fried cauliflower buns and shiitake mushrooms sauced, very effectively, as if they were pasta cacio e pepe and spooned over creamy, rough-grained polenta.” Explains Wells. “There’s a bowl of stir-fried brown rice that, once it’s stirred up with nori, chanterelles and a runny egg, reminds me of bibimbap.” Based on his review, it seems even meat-lovers could get tempted — seduced even — by the menu selection.
That said, he does mention that though the vegetables are delicious when fashioned into more complex, creative dishes, at times it wouldn't hurt if the vegetables were allowed to “relax” a bit.
Save room for dessert, as Italivi Reboreda’s dessert menu sounds delicious, and features sweets like chocolate cake wrapped, jelly-roll-style, around chocolate mousse.
For the complete New York Times review, click here.