A recent episode of BuzzFeed program Worth It highlighted vegan food in New York City. The premise of the show—which is one of YouTube’s most-watched series—follows hosts Steven Lim and Andrew Ilnyckyj as they sample specific foods at three price points (low, medium, and high) to determine which offerings are “worth it.” For the low price point, the crew visited Seasoned Vegan near Harlem for a po’ boy sandwich ($10) made with tempura-battered yams in place of shrimp, which Lim and Ilnyckyj said was better than its animal-based counterpart. The team went to Avant Garden in the East Village next. “Kill less animals, eat less meat, the environment … to make the world better,” Avant Garden Executive Chef Anthony Mongeluzzi said to describe the motivation of the restaurant, which is owned by vegan restaurateur Ravi DeRossi. There, the hosts sampled a tasting menu ($64) with dishes such as toast slathered in sunchoke purée and topped with pickled pears, kalamata olives, pistachios, and mint; avocado salad served with pan fried sushi rice, carrot ginger vinaigrette, pickled ginger, micro-cilantro, and a miso glaze; a hen-of-the-woods mushroom dish; and spiralized celery-root linguini with mushrooms, lemon, and garlic. “I never thought I would be licking my fork after eating a vegan dish like this,” Ilnyckyj said. The final stop was abcV—a vegetarian restaurant owned by world-renowned chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten—where they sampled a tasting menu ($135) that included green-chickpea hummus served with sourdough-based pita bread and seasonal-produce crudite sourced from the Union Square Market several blocks from the restaurant; a beet salad with smashed beets served in the style of carpaccio, and whole-roasted cauliflower with turmeric-spiced tahini sauce. “This is too good to be true,” Ilnyckyj said. While Lim chose Seasoned Vegan’s offerings as the “worth it” winner, Ilnyckyj and cameraman Adam Bianchi agreed that abcV was a better deal. The video has received nearly 4 million views since it was published April 1.
Photo courtesy of Avant Garden