I had heard about ‘sNice, a vegetarian / vegan cafe that opened in the West Vlillage 2004, but have not had an opportunity to go there, until very recently when I met a friend for a late lunch.
I loved the feel of the ‘sNice (it really is nice!), it had the vibe of an open, airy, casual neighborhood cafe where people gather over lunch / coffee and stay for a while to read / work on their own or to complete school work in groups. There is no pressure what so ever to order right away.
‘sNice was started by long time West Village residents who were looking to fill a void of casual eateries that offered something more than the standard fare of mozzarella and tomato sandwiches. ‘sNice uses organic ingredients when available and uses bio-degradable take-out material to reduce environmental impact.
I was blown away by the range of vegetarian options on the ‘sNice menu which includes include simple fresh vegetables and fruits, as well as dishes with tofu / Seitan / tempeh. The menu is global with Mediterranean, Asian (Thai), Indian, and Mexican options.
I had heard about the curried cauliflower and brown rice wrap from a friend whose opinions I respect immensely and definitely her opinions on food. So, I just had to have it at ‘sNice. Most wraps are cold, aren’t they? Or is it just I who assumes so? To my surprise this curried cauliflower wrap was warm. Brown rice is one of good those things that we should add in our diet, right? Having grown up eating soft, fluffy, white rice, I find brown rice a tad too nutty. This wrap, however, has made me want to give brown rice a chance (despite fears of Arsenic in brown rice). The curried cauliflower and brown rice wrap is definitely the best brown rice wrap I have ever had. The brown rice was cooked soft and not al dente. The cauliflower, chickpeas and the rice were mixed in what tasted like a gravy made of tomatoes and onions and Indian spices. The wrap was served with a mango chutney that I loved. It was sweet, tangy and slightly spicy. I am usually not a huge fan of mango (yes, that is despite my Indian roots), but I was glad to eat the mango chutney just by itself. Despite not being an Indian restaurant, ‘sNice is spot on in its flavors and textures in this wrap and chutney. If you ever go to ‘sNice, you must get this curried cauliflower and brown rice wrap – and please give brown rice a chance (not just because I did so).
We also got the autumn salad to share. It was a great salad, I was surprised that they would offer the salad in spring, what with restaurants / cafes offering seasonal menus these days. The salad had blue cheese, cranberries, walnuts, apples, and pears tossed in a citrus vinaigrette. I would get this salad again, but this is a classic combination that you can get elsewhere too.
My friend got the roasted veggie panini. It had zucchini, bell peppers, tomatoes, arugula and goat cheese on a grilled Panini. This is another classic vegetarian Panini that you can get elsewhere and is hardly unique to ‘sNice.
I would go back to ‘sNice to try the arugula pear and Brie sandwich with a raspberry mustard dressing and the quinoa salad with corn, black beans, tomatoes, tortilla strips in an avocado dressing (yumm!). Oh, these are just a couple of dishes from the wide range of veg and vegan options at ‘sNice. Also, you do not have to go there just for lunch – it’s open everyday for dinner until 10 pm.