I am very excited to say that I am due to visit New York City for the first ever time later this year, with a couple of vegan friends. They have been to NYC before, so they know of a number of suitable eateries for us, that they have visited in the past. I gather that recently (i.e. over the last 5 years,) the vegan scene in New York has really taken off and is becoming trendy, if all of the news reports I have read are anything to go by. There are, for example, the Peacefood Cafes, which are 100% plant-based, in several NYC locations (mentioned to me by my friend). It also looks as if many of the most fashionable bars and night-life spots have now embraced veganism.
For example, restaurateur Ravi de Rossi (who has lately transitioned to a plant-based diet) has recently opened Ladybird, an upmarket vegan tapas bar in West Village, which was the former location of his popular Bourgeois Pig bar for 12 years. Now, instead of charcuterie and cheese fondue served in the erstwhile Bourgeois Pig, the “Beautiful People” of New York can taste seared peach caprese salad for $12, made with almond “mozzarella”, amid ferns, marble tables and emerald-coloured chandeliers. The menu also includes coconut croqueta for $9 and a vegetable charcuterie platter ($32) with mushroom pate and beet chorizo.
Even the cocktails are heavily veggie-based, featuring the Dodo, a boozy avocado slushie for $14 and the Red Rail, which mixes beets with Kaffir lime and Niepoort Tawny port. All the drinks served are organic, in line with the owner’s green, vegan ethic. He says that he wanted to create something sustainable, since restaurateurs and bar-owners in the course of their business typically cause a lot of destruction to the environment and animals.
The affluent customers, vegan and otherwise, are happy to enjoy vegan fare in an environment which is more akin to boutique hotel than a hippy collective. The decor is aesthetically first-rate (see photo) and the background music consists of Nina Simone, Nat King Cole and Nina Simone played in turn through the speakers.
For the most part, all-vegan restaurants struggle to stay in business because there are not enough of our demographic to ensure a steady supply of customers. There are exceptions, naturally, but vegan eating out needs to become much more mainsteam in society, in order for things to really change. So Ravi de Rossi’s Ladybird bar sounds like the ideal venue for vegans and omnivores alike. The more that non-vegans eat delicious plant-based food and see that they are not sacrificing any taste or enjoyment, hopefully the more will convert to veganism permanently.
Maybe we will get to visit this place on our visit to NYC, and if we do, I will definitely review it here, so watch this space!
Photo courtesy of www.nypost.com