Restaurant Review: NIX NYC, New York in the USA
We know cities are getting better at catering for both vegetarians and vegans, but New York is one of the cities taking it to the next level. Not only do they boast an impressive range of green eateries, but Michelin star winning ones too. One of them is NIX – a stylish restaurant which my mother and I were lucky enough to try in December.
NIX NYC is a short walk away from Union Square and is a welcome addition to the bars and restaurants in the area. It not only maintains that lively, vibey Greenwich Village atmosphere but also offers a sophisticated, classy menu full of clever, creative dishes.
The head chefs, John Fraser and James Truman, founded the restaurant on the belief that eating green ‘should feel more celebration than sacrifice’ – and they’ve succeeded. There is nothing glum about this menu.
There’s also nothing conventional about it. The food here is designed to be shared, but it’s no tapas-inspired thing. Instead, the menu is broken down into starters, smaller and then larger plates – which is perfect for me as a commitment-phobe.
After five days of eating our way through loaded bread baskets, we opted for a lighter starter of dips and vegetables. Some would say this is a boring option, but NIX’s selection was anything but. Both the fiery red pepper and walnut dip and the creamy avocado mixed with ginger and mint guacamole were gorgeous and worked well when smothered on ice-cold crudités.
From the ‘smaller’ plate list, we chose the sweet potato dumplings, which wouldn’t have been out of place in China town. Packed with flavour, they were soft, as well as sweet and warming, courtesy of the ginger. The taste sensation was enhanced further by a drizzle of miso and spring onion oil.
For main, we shared two larger plates of gnocchi and spiced tofu – both dishes were delicious and, as Fraser and Truman intended, a real celebration of vegetarian food. As much as the dumplings tasted authentically Chinese, the gnocchi tasted every bit Italian.
The small potato bites were melt-in-your-mouth gooey and were smothered in the most amazingly creamy sauce, sprinkled with capers and lemon zest.
Before ordering the ‘spicy tofu’, our waiter warned us of its spice – and he was right to, because it packed a fiery heat! But, unlike some hot dishes, this one boasted other flavours aside from chilli.
Served in a mini cauldron, the stew was packed full of tofu cubes, chanterelle mushrooms and wilted kale – cleverly, the chefs also bring you a generous portion of nutty-brown rice, which helps absorb the heat.
Unlike a lot of Michelin restaurants, NIX gives plentiful portions which suits their hearty dishes. Although each plate is made up of incredible ingredients, there’s nothing that screams pretentious-some even feel like home comforts.
This feeling is enhanced further by the minimalist dining room; it’s smart but not fancy and lets the colourful food do the talking. In addition to their busy plates, NIX also has a packed cocktail and wine list.
We tried their Albion and Playa II cocktails – the gin-based Albion was tart and zesty with blackberry and lemon, whereas Playa II was a livelier affair thanks to the tequila, lime, passionfruit and champagne.
Cocktails done, it was time for pudding – we were lucky enough to dine at NIX on the night they were offering their roasted pineapple special. Topped with layer upon layer of whipped aquafaba cream, sweet toffee sauce and toasted almond flakes, the huge wedge of golden fruit was divine, and we could almost kid ourselves it was completely healthy, which just added to the enjoyment.
Unlike other Michelin restaurants which scream luxury, Nix’s offerings are more understated. But then again, the cool, trendy staff, hearty portions and stripped back dining room suit its Greenwich Village habitat.
Most importantly, you can’t knock the delicious food they serve, and I challenge any meat-enthusiast to dine there and not want to return for more.
Address: 72 University Pl, New York, NY 10003, USA
Phone: +1 212-498-9393