Someone recently told me that they were a foodie. “Really?” I replied. “What a coincidence, I’m a foodie too. In fact, I like food so much that I eat it three times a day, sometimes more.” All people are foodies, if only to meet basic survival needs. Yet, I will admit that there are those of us who enjoy food more than others. This is especially true in New York City, where we cannot walk down the street without passing all sorts of food options, from hot dog vendors to $90-a-person power lunches.
As a pescetarian, I was pessimistic about eating out Downtown -– a culinary district known mostly for its serious selection of steakhouses. Just scrolling through the Downtown Alliance directory, one can find a handful of restaurants with the word “steak” or “steakhouse” in the name. Yet I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the diverse menus at even the meatiest of meaty restaurants. Here are a few of my best meatless surprises:
Delmonico’s: Um, hello, their house special is the famed “Delmonico Steak.” When I went for Restaurant Week Winter 2009, my hopes were not high for their fish and veggie dishes. I mean, the chefs probably laugh when someone orders anything other than steak, right? Wrong. All I remember from that meal was the perfectly cooked and seasoned salmon (which was HUGE, by the way). Oh, and that my date was given a steak knife, yet cut his steak with a butter knife. (Guys: note that improper table manners are NOT okay, especially on a first date).
Harry’s Café/Harry’s Steak: Just steps from Delmonico’s is another Downtown favorite of mine. Needless to say, I order from the Harry’s Café menu, although the Harry’s Steak menu looks quite tasty, even to this non-meat eater. The place is packed at lunchtime, the atmosphere energetic, and the smells will make your stomach rumble. Last time I was there, they offered a special salad with goat cheese and sautéed mushrooms. It was beyond.
The Palm: This Downtown steakhouse is a feast for the eyes –- the walls lined with caricatures of celebrities, past and present. Tear your gaze from the décor long enough to select from their extensive menu, which includes veggie-friendly items like hearts of palm salad and hash browns. As a fish-eater, I go for the ahi tuna steak (they always give it a nice sear) and a side of my favorite guilty pleasure – creamed spinach.
Recession got you down? You can check out many Downtown restaurants during this year’s Winter 2010 Restaurant Week, from January 25th through February 7th.
And remember: keep your eyes and mind open when searching for vegetarian and pescetarian dining options. Bon appétit!