Table Verte – Vegetarian for Everyone

March 17, 2013

in Food for Thought,International,National

Post image for Table Verte – Vegetarian for Everyone
PinterestShare/Bookmark

Table Verte
127 East 7th Street
New York, NY 10009
(212) 539-0231
www.tablevertenyc.com

Written & Photographed by: Hazel Sy

Food & Service: The long narrow dining room of Table Verte is offbeat and poetic. Running along half of one wall is bench seating covered in eclectic leather and fabric upholstery that is one part art and one part 1970′s living room couch.

Table Verte's Plat Froid

The opposite wall boasts a large mirror, which gives the illusion of more space in the cozy restaurant. Table Verte does not look like your typical French Bistro, but it does capture the informal, casual atmosphere of one. The loud chatter of the other diners is ever present–good friends catching up on the week over French vegetarian and vegan fare.

Restauranteur Chef Didier Pawlicki, owner of Taureau and La Sirène, brought in Executive Chef Ken Larsen to create a French vegetarian and vegan menu that is approachable for everyone. Chef Larsen studied at the French Culinary Institute and worked at the Michelin-starred Château d’Adoménil in France before becoming a vegetarian five years ago. He leverages all of the classic techniques from his 15-year career to make hearty, flavorful dishes that do not rely on meat substitutes. In French food, “everything on the plate is good, even the vegetables are amazing. They aren’t just a garnish or a pedestal for the protein.”  At Table Verte, Chef Larsen makes natural whole vegetables the focal point with a focus on pairings and texture.

Cassoulet Vegetalien

The Plat Froid, a palette of sweet, sour, salty, crunchy, tender, and creamy, exemplifies this perfectly. The Celeri Rave Remoulade boasts homemade mayonnaise with a satisfying hint of eggs. Lentils Vinaigrette with a brunoise of carrots, celery and leeks has a Middle Eastern flair. The lentils are perfectly cooked to have a slight bite. Assiette de Carrots with chick peas, leeks and raisins provides crunch, tang from lemon spiced vinaigrette, and sweetness from the raisins and the hint of curry. The highlight of the platter is the Beets with Horseradish seasoned with shallots and tarragon. Sweetly refreshing, the heat of the horseradish brightens the dish without overpowering it.

The second course in our tasting is Table Verte’s signature Cassoulet Vegetalien, vegan mixed beans stewed with roast shallots. The dish is hearty yet not too heavy, with crunchy carrots and three types of beans providing varied texture with each bite. Next to the Cassoulet cocotte is an unassuming yam cake that blows me away. The layers of sweet potato seasoned with nutmeg and cinnamon demonstrate Chef Larsen’s ability to coax whole vegetables to step into the spotlight. I savor the feel of the tender, individual layers in my mouth—amazed at how slicing the yam transforms the dish. It would fall flat if Chef Larsen simply served a solid block or mashed yams. The Cassoulet is typically served with wild rice, but the sweetness of the yam cake perfectly balances the savory stewed beans so make sure you order a side of the yam cake during your visit.

Gnocchi Parisian au Gratin

As the server places the third course on our table, my nose is engulfed by the aroma of truffles. Underneath the slices of black truffle, the Gnocchi Parisian au Gratin features gnocchi enveloped in creamy white sauce and a layer of melted Swiss cheese. This dish is a cross between a savory bread pudding and mac & cheese. The gnocchi is doughy and a little too soft from being twice-cooked; coupledwith the rich sauce, the gratin would be better shared as a side dish.

Gluten-free Tarte au Chocolate

We complete our meal with a Banana Brulee and a vegan, gluten-free Tarte au Chocolate. Banana pudding lovers will savor the Nilla crackers, banana, crème patissiere and caramel crust; however, I am more intrigued by the chocolate tart. The Table Verte menu states that the restaurant is “evolving with your opinions,” and Chef Larsen explains that this tart evolved from a diner’s request to add a chocolate ganache tart to the menu. The deep, dense, dark chocolate ganache is richer than I expected. The ganache is made with avocados instead of heavy cream, and in the place of the typical wheat flour crust is a crunchy cooked rice shell. The shell .has smokiness similar to Korean Roasted Rice Tea, which plays well with the chocolate

Inside Table Verte Vegeatarian Restaurant

Everyone on our table polishes off her plate and smiles with satisfaction. Not once did we feel cheated by the vegetarian and vegan courses. Not once did we raise an eyebrow at a questionably bland, new-age plate of tofu and lettuce. Table Verte certainly lives up to its mission to make whole vegetables approachable for everyone. Since all of the menu items are clearly marked as vegetarian, vegan and/or gluten-free, you can finally share a meal and catch up with ALL your vegan and gluten-free friends all around the same table. Invite your meat lovers friends too! They’ll enjoy dining at Table Verte for a change of pace too.

Note: Take advantage of bringing your own wine without a corkage fee while Table Verte is waiting for its liquor license.

Dinner:               5:00 PM – 10:00 PM, Sun.-Thurs. / 5:00 PM – 11:00 PM, Fri.-Sat.

Brunch:               11:30 AM – 3:30 PM, Sat.-Sun.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________

Hazel Sy is a writer and photographer always in pursuit of the next culinary adventure. From Dai pai dongs in Hong Kong, a yacht galley in the Maldives, her NYC backyard to her small apartment kitchen, she shares her love of food on her blog TastyPursuits.com. When asked why she started her blog, Hazel says, “I started this blog to explore why the flavors work well together in recipes from my cookbook collection, friends and websites. I then experiment with creating my own recipes based on the flavor principles that I discover along the way.” Please check out Hazel’s great Twitter page at -> @tastypursuits

Message from the Editor in Chief: DinnerReviews.com is pleased and honored to welcome Hazel Sy to our Internet Magazine. Her love and knowledge of food, and excellent writing ability is evident in all of her reviews. We feel very lucky to have her contributions.

Previous post:

Next post: