chickpeas + chickpea sprouts

PICHOLINE: One of America’s Best Vegetarian Tasting Menus

PicholineVegTastingFall2014 025

Having had the pleasure and privilege of experiencing some of America’s best vegetarian (and even vegan) tasting menus in recent years while researching THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE (Little, Brown; October 14, 2014) and beyond — including at Blue Hill, Camden Harbour Inn, DANIEL, Eleven Madison Park, the Inn at Little Washington, Komi, Melisse, Oleana, Per Se, Topolobampo, and elsewhere — we have been happy to discover one of our very favorites at an unexpected restaurant.

Chef Terrance Brennan‘s Picholine, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary, has been one of the beloved restaurants where we’ve celebrated a number of anniversaries, birthdays, Valentine’s Days, and even weddings (including that of NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton and his “CBS This Morning” legal analyst wife Rikki Klieman) for nearly as long.  But as we’d always thought of it as our place to go for the meaty signature dishes such as salmon + cucumber + horseradish, wild mushroom and duck risotto, and especially wild game for which it has long been famed, we frankly shied away from the restaurant when we changed our diet.

As we’ve been eating 99% vegetarian since May 2012, when we got around to checking out Picholine’s vegetarian menu, we were floored.  First of all, Picholine has an entirely separate vegetarian menu, with options for a three-course prix fixe ($88), a five-course tasting ($105), and an eight-course tasting ($145), on which many dishes can be made vegan if they aren’t already.  But after tasting our way through each, we wondered:  How could such a kitchen demonstrate even more finesse when it comes to plant-driven dishes?

We’ve experienced Picholine’s vegetarian tasting menu more than a half-dozen times, and feel comfortable declaring that it’s not only one of New York City’s best, but one of America’s best.  Here’s a taste of the vegetarian tasting menu we experienced last weekend: Continue reading…