The last couple years have seen a shift in our carnivorous consciousness: produce has moved from side dish to the center of the plate. It's like a palate-cleanser from the recent overload of pork belly and charcuterie. As the number of vegetable-centric restaurants has dramatically increased, so has the repertoire of plant-based technique. Dishes that once were used to highlight meat have been transformed into lighter, healthier renditions packed with fresh-picked flavor. Vegetarian tartares, pokes and crudos have become menu staples. The latest trend: veggie carpaccio. Usually composed of thinly sliced raw beef or fish, chefs are now using vibrant beetroot, squash and all kinds of veg as the main component of time-honored Venetian dish. Here are five around town to try now.
Housed in the back of the Garret East, this secret restaurant has been garnering positive reviews for its playful selection of dishes prepared by husband-and-wife team, Scott Tacinelli and Angie Rito. The globally influenced Italian menu features an excellent Apennine-Thai hybrid of fresh veg, eggplant carpaccio, topped with farro, spicy peanuts, mint and a savory soy-based sauce.
Chef Einat Admony (Taïm, Balaboosta, Bar Bolonat) marries cuisine from her native Israel with Barcelona-inspired tapas at her latest spot, Combina. She combines shared ingredients — saffron, high-quality olive oil, etc. – in fresh dishes like eggplant escabeche and winter squash with peanut picada. Since opening in November, one of her most popular dishes has been the visually stunning persimmon carpaccio with squid ink and sunflower.
330 W. Broadway; 212-226-1248
The Torrisi team’s coastal Italian Meatpacking restaurant serves a squash carpaccio that has everyone talking about veggies. Delicata squash is shaved thin, layered and lightly torched. The whole thing is topped with a honey agrodolce, cracked pink peppercorns, crème fraîche, chopped parsley and pepitas.
820 Washington St.; 212-254-3000
This East Village steakhouse is best known for its pricey cuts and decadent dry-aged burger; however, restaurateur John McDonald (Burger & Barrel, Lure) and chef-partner Josh Capon do know how to balance a meat-heavy menu. The zucchini carpaccio is topped with Mediterranean-inspired pistachios, chile flakes, feta and mint.
9 E. First St.; 212-460-5255
Chef John Fraser has been leading the way with vegetable carpaccios for quite some time. At his newest eatery Nix, he briefly offered beet and potato renditions (which have since been discontinued). Right now, he’s going earthy on his prix fixe menu at Dovetail with a grilled king oyster mushroom carpaccio finished with hijiki seaweed vinaigrette, Cara Cara oranges and Marcona almonds.
103 W. 77th St.; 212-362-3800