On the Vegetarian Awesomeness of Heights Vegetarian: Fuck Yes, A New Vegetarian Restaurant in Washington Heights!

15Mar08

In which The Gay Recluse goes to a new restaurant (twice) and is totally psyched.

For all of you doubters in doubterville, take note: there’s a new restaurant on 166th Street between Broadway and Saint Nicholas, right around the corner from Dallas BBQ. And get this: it’s vegetastic! We’ve eaten there twice already this weekend alone and would probably go tomorrow except it’s closed on Sundays. (Or at least it was last weekend; they might be open now.)

“All of our food is naturally delicious!” is the claim on the menu, and — incredibly enough — it’s true! What’s mindblowing is that you go in and look at the offerings and — even though it says “vegetarian” everywhere, you’re pretty much like: “Is that meat? Is that meat? Are you sure that’s not meat?” while the girls behind the counter patiently explain that no, it’s all vegetarian, it just looks like meat. Whatever, we’ve never been hung up on the concept that vegetarian fare has to taste and feel exactly (or anything) like meat, but — and don’t ask us how they do it: the drumsticks even have “fried skin” — this place is definitely safe for those sorts of narrow-minded blowhards who inevitably cross our paths to make life miserable. Our suggestion: enjoy the food for what it is, and you’ll be happy.

They offer everything cafeteria style — breakfast, lunch, dinner, smoothies, wraps, “burgers,” soups — which you can eat there or take out. The food — have we mentioned that it’s all vegetarian? — is done with a Caribbean theme, which as far as we can tell is like a spicier version of many soul-food standards with a bit of rice-and-beans thrown in. (Give us a break: we’re not food critics!) The owners — Dave and Morton — are from Guyana and Trinidad, which should tell you what you need to know.

So far we’ve had the small dinner plate, which means you pick four sides for $8. The “plate” is essentially a standard Chinese take-out container — the dish, not the rice — just to give you a sense of how much food you’re getting. Let’s just say: good deal. Yesterday we had curried/fried “drumsticks”; “beef” and carrots; pumpkin something or other; and rice and beans. Today we had barbecue drumsticks; collard greens; rice and beans; and fried bake, which is the Trinidad version of a pita. Everything was in fact naturally delicious and — unlike nasty Chinese takeout, which costs the same or more — doesn’t leave you feeling bloated, greasy or hungover. (Obviously, you never have to imagine animals being factory farmed and slaughtered at Heights Vegetarian.) Owner Dave also assured us that the smoothies and juices are 100 percent natural and awesome, and we’re looking forward to checking those out.

Heights Vegetarian (212-927-0908; yes, they deliver) is located at 1121 Saint Nicholas Avenue.

Vegetarian in Washington Heights? Fuck yes!

Whoa. The inside. (Nicely done, Heights Vegetarian!)

Drum sticks, rice and beans, collard greens, fried bake: Only $8.00!? Fuck yes! (PS. That’s what it looked like on our dinner plate at home, and our plates are not small.)

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10 Responses to “On the Vegetarian Awesomeness of Heights Vegetarian: Fuck Yes, A New Vegetarian Restaurant in Washington Heights!”

  1. Six kinds of awesome! I’m not a vegetarian, but I immediately forwarded this to two local veg folks (one of them the fellow who runs Inwoodite, which I hope will also give the place a review) and a friend who often comes up to visit. I’m sure they’ll get lots of eager visitors once the word gets out. Looks like a decent space, too.

  2. Thanks, Rose Fox! I’m not a vegetarian either (mostly out of laziness because Stephen does more of the cooking, and he’s one of those people who definitely needs meat to stay healthy), but I would still recommend this place over Dallas BBQ or Chinese take-out (or at least half the time!)

  3. 3 mariko

    hi guys!

    thanks for your review, i walk by that place every day on my way home and wonder about it, but i didnt really have high hopes.

    ps. nice site, i ended up here cause a couple other sites linked to the smoke/incinerator posts.

  4. Thanks Mariko — you should try it! I’ve been back several times and I continue to really like this place. I have a friend who actually ordered the “chicken” terriyaki and thought it was real chicken even after he ate it! (I personally don’t care about that sort of distinction — like it’s fine to me if it doesn’t taste like meat — but I thought it was funny, and the food does look a LOT like meat.)

  5. Nice! You don’t happen to know their hours, do you?

  6. Hey Kristen…I’m pretty sure it’s 8pm on weeknights, closed on Sundays…you could call and ask at 212-927-0908

  7. 7 Jamie

    Hi! I work here on weekends and it is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thanks for the great review by the way-a few people have mentioned it when they’ve come in! We’re not open on Sundays yet but we will be soon!

  8. I’m a vegetarian who’s lived uptown for two years now and have never been particularly excited by the local dining scene, so I am overjoyed to hear about nearby vegetarian restaurant that’s receiving rave reviews. My gorgeous gay recluse, thank you for putting this place on my radar! I can’t wait to visit.

  9. Hey Urbanis–enjoy! and spread the word–sometimes it seems a little sad in there, but the food has always been good in my experience.

  10. 10 Rachael

    It is now open until 6 pm on Sundays. This place is great! It’s a lot of food for a great deal and the staff is very friendly and enthusiastic about how all their drumsticks and ‘meats’ are soy. They also have a selection of vegan desserts like Oreo cake, cheesecake, pumpkin pie. They don’t just have fake meats though, they also have fresh vegetables like pumpkin and potatoes. Really great and convenient, pick four things and go.


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