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Plants Matter

The best of this year’s vegivore bounty.

Illustration by Kagan McLeod  
  • Beets

  • Russ & Daughters

    179 E. Houston St., nr. Orchard St. 212-475-4880

    To the juices that remain after pickling beets for a salad, add fresh lemon, a pinch of sugar, et voilà, one beet-lemon shrub—the vaguely vinegary, wholly refreshing revival of a Colonial-era tonic.

Illustration by Kagan McLeod  
  • Broccoli

  • Sorella

    95 Allen St., nr. Delancey St. 212-274-9595

    Does tempura-frying broccoli and dousing it in hot-pickled-pepper aïoli and Grana Padano diminish its nutritive value? Does it matter?

Illustration by Kagan McLeod  
  • Brussels Sprouts

  • Carmine Club Cafe

    41-43 Carmine St., nr. Bedford St. 212-933-0527

    More ammunition against the anti-sprout camp, these are flash-fried and aggressively seasoned with Old Bay and citrus.

Illustration by Kagan McLeod  
  • Carrots

  • Dirt Candy

    430 E. 9th St., nr. Ave. A; 212-228-7732

    The vegetarian answer to Momofuku pork buns: dough tinted with carrot juice, a barbecued-carrot filling, and a carrot-hoisin dipping sauce.

Illustration by Kagan McLeod  
  • Cauliflower

  • Torrisi Italian Specialties

    250 Mulberry St., nr. Prince St. 212-965-0955

    What distinguishes this version from all others? The chefs’ insistence on the lowbrow garnish of their youth: Progresso bread crumbs.

Illustration by Kagan McLeod  
  • Escarole

  • Porsena

    21 E. 7th St., nr. Cooper Sq.; 212-228-4923

    A salad with oomph: wilted bitter leaves strewn with anchovy-infused croutons, and a dressing that pulls no punches.

Illustration by Kagan McLeod  
  • Kale

  • Birdbath

    160 Prince St., nr. Thompson St. 212-612-3066

    A shredded-kale salad that stands out in an increasingly crowded field, thanks to rich additions like toasted hazelnuts and Grana Padano.

Illustration by Kagan McLeod  
  • Salsify

  • Buvette

    42 Grove St., nr. Bleecker St. 212-255-3590

    The only thing better than slow-poaching salsify batons in red wine and honey, it appears, is encasing them in parchment with a cache of Roquefort cheese.

Illustration by Kagan McLeod  
  • Squash

  • ABC Kitchen

    35 E. 18th St., nr. Broadway 212-475-5829

    As befits a seasonal menu, dishes here come and go. But the deep-fried delicata rings, showered with goat cheese and maple syrup, better come back soon.

Illustration by Kagan McLeod  
  • Turnip

  • Dovetail

    103 W. 77th St., nr. Columbus Ave. 212-362-3800

    An unlikely star on the “Monday Veg” menu, the turnip seviche is “cured” with lime, then artfully combined with quinoa, pearl onions, and jícama.

From the 2011 Best of New York issue of New York Magazine