Most of the time I spend in Manhattan is at work, but on rare occasions, I get to take time to meet a friend for lunch or stay in town a little later and meet up with friends for dinner.  Yesterday was one of them.

Lunch was outside, on a gorgeous summer day, at Haru on 48th between Park and Madison Aves (they have other locations in and outside of NY.)  I debated the salad and the miso soup for starters (but it was 90+ degree weather) so I settled on the toasty and sweet flavored hijiki salad.  Hijiki is a dark brown/black seaweed, about three times the length of rice, and prepared with a sweet asian dressing and some carrots and mushrooms, it's a hearty start to any meal.  To accompany that I had two rolls (though here again I had a few choices): shiitake cucumber was one, avocado the other.  A glass of Sancerre was a cold, crisp accompaniment.

For dinner I headed a bit further south to Novita on 22nd between Park and Lexington Avenues and again, I had quite a few choices (a big deal for vegans in mainstream restaurants!) At this initmate, dimly lit (and packed) restaurant, I finally settled on the artichoke and mushroom appetizer (without the parmigiana) after debating the mixed field greens, fava beans with fresh mint and a wild mushroom salad.  For dinner, I shared pasta (something I almost never do) and it was fabulous.  All of their pastas are homemade, and the buckwheat one I selected with tomato and artichoke (hold the shrimp please) was made without egg (unlike many fresh pastas) and was really just like the pastas I enjoyed in Italy.  

Next time you're looking for places in NYC to try, either one is a sure bet.

Veg and the City