French and vegetarian? Yes, that is what Table Verte (Green Table??) is. It’s a (relatively) new vegetarian restaurant in the East Village / Alphabet City area providing more vegetarian options to NYC. Table Verte offers vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free dishes and desserts made with French techniques. There is no tofu, tempeh, seitan or cashew cheese or the like in any of the dishes at Table Verte; there is butter / cream in some dishes, but all dishes are conveniently labeled on the menu as vegan or gluten-free. I had the pleasure of visiting Table Verte for a press dinner and recommend it highly for vegetarians and vegans (and non-vegetarians) alike.
Table Verte’s Executive Chef Ken Larsen has been vegetarian for the past 5 years and wants to make vegetarian eating approachable to all. The menu at Table Verte uses the season’s best ingredients and is evolving with Chef Ken’s keen interest in making vegetarian dishes more appealing to meat eaters by introducing different flavors and textures to the dishes where vegetables take center stage. That is not to say that the menu changes every day, in fact, some dishes will always stay on the menu – e.g., the Cassoulet.
Table Verte is an intimate, neighborhood restaurant with many patrons from the area visiting it late evening. But it ought to have people seeking it from all over NYC – the food is simple yet delicious. Table Verte is awaiting its liquor license and plans to serve wine by the glass, carafe, and bottle from a global wine list later in Spring. It is currently BYOB. The restaurant has green butcher block tables and has 100% green energy. Brunch is served from 11 AM to 3 PM on Saturday and Sunday.
We were served a tasting menu with some dishes pared down in size so we could try many dishes from the menu. We were served:
- “Plat Friod”
- Leeks in vinaigrette (not on the current menu just yet)
- Seasonal special of roasted Brussels sprouts (listed on the menu in the restaurant)
- Gnocchi Parisian
- Vegetarian Cassoulet with Yam cake and
- Roast Yam Etouffee (listed on the menu in the restaurant)
- For Dessert
- Roasted pineapple with coconut sorbet
- Strawberry tart and
- Owner / restaurateur Didier Pawlacki’s family recipe of Semolina cake
All the dishes were delicious and unique, I recommend getting all of them (Hint: Go with a friend and share everything, although dishes are individually plated)
- “Plat Froid” – a plate of 3 different appetizers / salads – the French (green) lentils in vinaigrette, the celery remoulade, and roasted beets
- Lentils were slightly crunchy and reminded me of a South Indian sundal (in taste and texture)
- I loved the celery remoulade which has grated celery root soaking in lime juice and just a little mayonnaise
- Roasted beets were tasty with horseradish, tarragon and other herbs. I would have preferred more horseradish, but that is just me
- Leeks in vinaigrette were delicious to say the least. The wedge of grapefruit in this dish added an acidic touch to balance the sweetness of the balsamic and the other flavors from the herbs
- Brussels Sprouts (seasonal special) with Balsamic roasted strawberries were divine. The Brussels sprouts were almost char-grilled and were perfect with the sweet balsamic strawberries. You would not want to miss this dish.
- Gnocchi Parisian is a gnocchi dish made like Mac ‘n Cheese with French Truffles. This is usually served with a green salad. I loved the truffle flavor and the oven roasted tomatoes added sweet tartness to the pasta. I was scraping the crusted cheese and sauce on the sides well after I finished the pasta until the server cold wait no more to take away the plate to make space on the table for the next dish. This is a dish that you must order if you like Mac ‘n Cheese.
- Vegetalian (vegetarian) Cassoulet with Yam Cake: This was my first time eating Yam cake, but it completely won me over. The cake was made from thinly-sliced baked yam and topped with spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg. This cake is listed as a “side dish” on the menu. The vegetarian cassoulet tasted more like Chili to me. I would get the Yam cake again.
- Roast Yam Etouffee: This was my first time eating Etouffee but eating this etouffee made me want to taste Etouffee in Louisiana. Chef Ken Larsen creates a hearty dish with the dark roux of the etouffee. The wild rice had a slight crunch which I loved. The best part of this dish for me was the spicy pickled chayote on the top – an example of Chef Ken Larsen’s Norwegian influence on the food at Table Verte. (I recently learned that Norwegian cuisine involves brining and pickling of many ingredients). The chayote squash had a nice crunchy texture and a kick from the chiles that it was pickled (?) with.
- The desserts were all good (how can cream and sugar possibly make a dessert taste bad?). My favorite was the strawberry tart, although the tart shell was slightly hard, the taste was excellent. Chef Ken Larsen is keen to introduce more gluten-free desserts at Table Verte.
Overall: I highly recommend Table Verte for its wide range of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free dishes and affordable prices. It’s BYOB at the moment with a global wine list being offered later in Spring.
Note: This is a Not Just Vegetarian review of a press dinner at Table Verte.
Related posts on this blog (although they were not Press Dinners)