Last night my family celebrated my grandparents' 70th anniversary ~ 70!!!  Now that deserves a fun night out.  This dapper, beautiful couple still loves a great meal (ok, my grandfather eats anything, great or not but he's 93 so he can) and can still do a cute spin on the dance floor.  So where's a perfect place to party?  Sammy's Roumanian on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

If you've never been to Sammy's, here's the deal. 

It's a low ceilinged, dimly lit, old-style Jewish restaurant whose decor consists of business cards and old photos stapled to every square inch of wall and ceiling space, and a few bad ties hanging near the back. The tables are set with old fashioned seltzer bottles, small pitchers of schmaltz (yes, chicken fat) to schmear on the seedless rye, pickles and sour tomatoes.  Most everything on this menu, from the potato pancakes to Roumanian steak to fried kreplach (Jewish meat dumplings) to the chopped liver prepared table side is far from vegan and could clog an artery or 10, but coupled with the loungey live music, a mix of broadway standards with some Catskills hits, it's a destination place not-to-be missed.

While it's surely not a vegan haven, there are options for us, and the staff is really accommodating (and hilarious!)  Last night I enjoyed the mashed potatoes (literally just mashed potatoes) with sauteed, carmelized onions, the smoky eggplant salad (a puree with onions, garlic, tomato, lemon juice and olive oil) and the vegetable derma, a non-animal version a la polenta with ground carrots that tasted sinful.   There's also the Kettle One vodka frozen into blocks of ice for those who choose.  Last time I went, they were so concerned about me having enough to eat, they brought me a platter of baked potatoes and another of garlicky broccoli that could feed me and 7 of my closest friends. 

You, your very empty belly and your sense of humor should grab your dancing shoes and your wallets (it's not cheap) and head to 157 Chrystie Street! 


Veg and the City