Restaurant Review: V Note


Hey all!

Thanks for the words of sympathy about the Vita. It did feel like a minor tragedy at first, but I’m continuing to enjoy my Vita-less time for its novelty. And I’m definitely still enjoying the pesto.

So, it’s been a while since I wrote a restaurant review. A few weeks ago, M and I visited V Note on the Upper East Side, which is a sister restaurant to my regular favorites, Blossom and Café Blossom. I’d been meaning to go for a while, but my Groupon was a good excuse to get moving! (What a strange New Yorker I am; you have to force me to eat out, rather than dine in, and it’s not just about finances.)

The décor at V Note is classy, and the mood is cozy, though the combination of a wet and blustery night and a door that kept getting blown open by the gusts outside made it hard for us to relax. I was also taken aback by the black, shiny walls, which made me feel as though I was 18 again, and listening to this single:

My usual MO in restaurants is to go with an appetizer and an entrée, because I assume that most portion sizes will be stingy. On this night, I rolled the dice and hoped that V-Note’s portion sizes would be adequate, and went with two appetizers. First was the wilted spinach salad with corn, shitake, tempeh, cashews, and a warm balsamic vinaigrette:

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And the second was the “lentil rings”—lentils in a phyllo roulade with a mustard sauce:

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For his part, M got the pistachio and pepper dusted tofu:

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Our verdict? Fair. I was right to trust in V-Note’s portion sizes, which were more than generous, and I thought my lentils were great! The salad was fine, though the dressing could have been a little creamier. M seemed happy with his tofu, but it wasn’t as sanguine a reaction as I’m used to when he’s really thrilled.

Of course, the problem with living in a city where incredible vegan options abound is that one is prone to be spoiled. Under most circumstances, I’d call V-Note a really solid meal: compared to Candle 79 or Pure? Great for a neighborhood dinner, but not necessarily the spot for a special occasion.

For reasons that will soon become clear, I’ll be doing more than the usual amount of restaurant dining in May, and I’m pretty excited to revisit some favorites (Quintessence, Candle Café) that I haven’t been to in a while. I’ll also be making stops at the haunts (Candle, Pure, Souen, Angelika Kitchen) you read about frequently here at CR. And of course, I’ll be writing about it along the way.

New Yorkers, where have you eaten recently? Any new vegan spots I ought to try?


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  1. I love Bright Eyes!!!!! Still haven’t gone to an all vegan restaurant or even a mostly vegan restaurant. There are some good options for restaurants with vegan options out here in Virginia but compared to most places my options are pretty limited.

  2. I read your post, i really appreciate your experience and i will get good knowledge from their as well.

  3. Gena,
    I have a great spot for you. its not new, but its falafels and its AMAZING! Taim on 7th ave and Perry. you will not believe their hummus! check it out. i’m dying to see what you think.

  4. woo! I got a Quintessence Groupon recently, so I will be going for my first time soon. Any dishes you love/recommend?
    I recently went to Quantum Leap; have you been? I got a portobello pesto burger and it was pretty good ๐Ÿ˜€

  5. Oh, Bright Eyes…I love him. Those lentils look delish! I love dining out, especially at healthy restaurants like Souen, or Pure. MMmm. But, then again, I am lazy and like having my dinner handed to me!

  6. I agree V-Note is good for a neighborhood dinner. But it’s newish so hopefully continue to improve the menu ๐Ÿ™‚ I have been a few times and my favorite thing on the menu is the sietan piccata. Delicious

  7. Pure is still the best veggie restaurant I’ve ever been to. If you’d taken a photo of me eating the Classic Sundae, you would have sworn I was stoned.

  8. Gena!

    You should do an NYC post about your favorite eateries/restaurants/cafรฉs/shops for vegan and raw goods! I might meet a friend there this summer and I need the 411 for the best places to eat!! You seem like quite the expert, having lived there so long! xoxo

  9. New York vegan dining! While I live in San Francisco and have access to some incredible veggie establishments (Millennium, Cafe Gratitude, Gracias Madre, Herbivore, Cha-Ya Vegan Sushi) and the vegetables taste fresher grown closer to the restaurant, New York has some unbeatable spots.
    I’ve eaten at Angelica Kitchen (I get positively slutty over veggie nori maki), Quintessence, B&H Vegetarian (for their chili over brown rice special), Bonobo’s… and then One Lucky Duck in Chelsea Market. Also this place called Bliss Cafe in Williamsburg.

    I want so badly to try: Pure Food & Wine, Candle 79, Blossom, that macrobiotic Korean place with a funny name? Blossom!

    I actually don’t really like to go out to eat much. So living in the city is kind of wasted on me. Oh well! I hope you got recruited/hired to do vegan restaurant reviews! That would be fab!

  10. Thanks fo the review. I was looking to check them out. We are going to ABC kitchen next month for our anniversary. They promised they would hook me up with a vegan meaL ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’ll be sure to blog about it. Have a great weekend!

  11. I just recently had dinner at Quantum Leap (1st ave and 12th st) and I thought it was really good! It was very reasonable and we got a lot of food. Maybe not a special dinner spot, but definitely great if you want a quick meal and you’re in the neighborhood.

  12. i was in nyc for the day yesterday and went to angelica’s kitchen in east village for lunch. i’m sure you’ve been there. i loved it! especially since their house made sauerkraut was offered as a side dish. yum.

  13. Thanks for the review!! I’ve been wanting to try out V-Note and probably will at some point, but I’m kind of relieved to know that it won’t beat Candle 79 for the best vegan food around ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m a loyal Candle girl!

  14. Looks gorgeous! And haven’t heard of it before, so will add it to my list!

  15. I just read about your broken vita mix and how you prefer your food processor. Funny thing, I just broke my food processor the other day, and I freaked out for a second and then remembered that anything I do in the food processor can be done in the vitamix. So I’ve been making hummus in the vita and it’s not bad. I have always used my vita way more than my food processor anyway, so hopefully I can make the switch and not have to replace it.

    As for this meal, I am totally intrigued by the lentil rings. They look and sound so good! I’ve never been to NYC so I have no recommendations but I’d love to go and try all the good eats I keep seeing in blogworld.

    • Tweal,

      If I weren’t so partial to thick textures (in hummus, and in nut pate) it would be easier to use the Vita for everything. But I really do like my hummus nice and thick, and I find that I have to add way too much liquid in the Vita to get the consistency I want!


      • I know what you mean, I prefer thicker hummus too. I used the pusher thingy for the vita and left it kinda chunky so I didn’t have to water it down. I like to think of it as ‘rustic’ hummus ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. Living in a city with pretty much no vegan restaurants bar one Asian cafe, and certainly no raw food anywhere at all, I reckon I’d be pretty amazing by this restaurant! I’ll definitely look forward to your other restaurant reviews for vicariously living too ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. Have you been to ‘sNice? That’s probably my favorite vegan eatery in the city, although it’s definitely more of a lunch place. Its menu is primarily sandwiches, but they’re all really inventive and incredibly delicious. (I’d particularly recommend the sushi sandwich or the reuben, but everything I’ve tried has been good really.) They have two locations in Manhattan (one at 14th & 8th, and one in SoHo), and another location in Park Slope, so not your usual neck of the woods, but definitely worth the trip downtown!

  18. I am suspicious of your fun plans. Either lots of fun people coming to visit you or something of that sort…

    I almost thought V-note was V-spot, in Brooklyn, with raw and cooked recipes. Mediocre places never seem to make the cut for me with short trips.

    If you ever Do get out to Brooklyn, RawStar (rastafarian raw food) is so good! It’s a tiny restaurant but I was blown away by the creativity of the meal. Curried plantains, I still dream of those.

    • I second the RawStar recommendation. I’ve only been there once, but it was incredible!

  19. Looking forward to hearing what you have in store! That does sound like an odd ambiance for a restaurant.

    I don’t know that there’s a single vegetarian restaurant in AK, let alone vegan or raw, so it’s pretty fun to get to experience it vicariously…

  20. I’ve always thought of New York and Los Angeles to be close to equals when it comes to trends in food, but being an LA native, it looks to me like New York is far more on top of its vegan game. We have some pretty delicious vegan spots here, but nothing that looks as classy and chic as V Note, or some of the other restaurants I’ve seen you write about. Maybe you just know how to find them! If you come to LA, I’ll hire you to be my restaurant guide for a weekend.

    And I want those lentil rings. Yum! Oh, and now I’m truly inspired to use pistachios in a dish. After seeing your pistachio pesto, and M’s tofu dish, I think it’s time.

  21. We still have a date right? I can’t remember where, though… ๐Ÿ™‚ The company is far more important to me than the food. (wow, M should be worried. It sounds like I’m hitting on you.)

  22. I live in upstate and have never gone to an exclusively veg restaurant in the city, but I’d love to, so I’m looking forward to reading the suggestions!

  23. Oh the food looks stellar to me! On my life’s bucket list is to get to Candle or Pure, for sure. And in the meantime, I hope that San Diego opens up some really swanky, trendy, vegan food restaurants. LA has some, but not as many in San Diego. The lentil rings and the tofu both look excellent to me but as you said, you’re a little spoiled by the other awesome choices in your area.

    Can’t wait to see/hear about what you have in store for us in May. You clearly have some fun tricks up your sleeve! Hope you have a ball dining out and restaurant reviewing and we get to read all about it ๐Ÿ™‚

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