Mon-Fri, 11am-11pm; Sat, 10am-11pm; Sun, 10am-10pm
1, 2, 3 at 14th St.; A, B, C, D, E, F, M at W. 4th St.-Washington Sq.
American Express, MasterCard, Visa
Houston St. to 21st St., Broadway to West Side Hwy.
What do enchiladas, cous cous, and spaghetti have in common? They're all on the menu at this long-standing, low-key macrobiotic cellar. The vegan and vegetarian-friendly spot also offers a few fish, but meat only comes in the form of puns, like the wheat balls accompanying the pasta and soy sausage links. No matter what you choose, you can rely on it being good for you. A local crowd of academic types—students and their mentors—all seem like habitual clients, hooked on the kitchen's clean, simple flavors. The dishes are largely unexciting, however, until zippy sauces and dressings spring them to life. A sweet carrot ginger dressing awakens the avocado salad with cabbage, beets, lettuce, tomato, and cucumber; a ginger soy sauce adds zing to tepid whole wheat vegetable dumplings; and curry enlivens delicate udon noodles with tempeh. Some dishes don't need tinkering, like the nicely restorative miso soup that comes with large chunks of carrots and celery to complement the usual tofu and seaweed mix. Only organic produce is used, organic beers and wines are on hand, and fruit shakes and healthy teas round out an all-natural feast. An environmental element carries into the homey, if dated, space, with wood paneling, wood tables, and a wood-burning fireplace enhancing the earthen feel.