Vegan Brunch at Darrow’s – Union Square, NYC

I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I have wonderful foodie friends. One of my favorite ways this pays off (aside from having awesome friends to eat delicious things with) is that they are always paying attention to restaurant comings and goings. And recently, a new restaurant opened up that my friend sent me an email for saying I simply had to try. Darrow’s Farm Fresh Market is everything I love – health conscious, farm to table, and vegan-friendly. I knew I had to check it out immediately before word spread and it got ridiculously hard to get a table.

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So that’s exactly what I did last Saturday following a super intense yoga class with another girlfriend. We walked over, braving the New York winter, and found ourselves in a super cute pinterest-board explosion of a restaurant. The downstairs section is for take-out, while the upstairs bar and seating is for people looking to sit. We sat.

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The restaurant definitely hasn’t exploded with people’s knowledge of it yet, and that’s a good thing. We managed to snag an open table (there were plenty to choose from) by the window for a full view of the space. There’s a live wall, juices served in mason jars, and an eclectic offering of cocktails that sound like juices. I’m of the mindset that it’s not really brunch without a cocktail, so I decided to try their cucumber spritz – which was a mixture of cucumbers, lime, and vodka. It was heavenly. Of course, I also went for coffee. It is brunch after all.

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Now, let’s get to the food. The hostess who greeted us was really excited about the restaurant. She instantly recommended we try their “plates” – which are apparently what they’re trying to be known for. They’re all developed as what you want to get out of them. For example, protein, detox, stress relief, energy, etc. Knowing that everything was put together with a nutritionist, and they were recommending the plates, I decided that was the way to go for the first trip.

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I went for detox (I mean, if I was having a cocktail I figured it all evened out) – which was three different dishes. The first was a roasted beet with what I thought was fennel, the menu said sauerkraut. It was pretty good, definitely a lot of beets. Nothing to rave about though.

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In the middle was the dish that sold me on the whole plate – the chickpea and zucchini croquettes. I’m always loving mashed up veggies made into burgers, fritters or croquettes so this was definitely up my ally. They were originally supposed to be served with some sort of a dairy spiced yogurt, but the menu said I could sub a coconut yogurt, which of course, I did. They were definitely delicious and I could have done without the yogurt all together. Maybe the coconut wasn’t as flavorful as the original, but it seemed kind of a blah addition to me.

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The third dish on my plate was a raw curried cauliflower. It was so so good. Unfortunately, I neglected to notice it was raw. And was super surprised that it wasn’t warm. I think if it was served warm, I would have licked the bowl. But alas, it was cold. But still super yummy and definitely the highlight of the three dishes.

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Now, let’s talk about my serious plate envy. My friend ordered the protein plate and asked them to add avocado to the kale. I knew the second her plate arrived I was going to be wishing I had ordered hers instead.

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The quinoa edamame squash cakes looked a lot like my croquettes and definitely would have been something I would have liked. Especially since I thought mine didn’t need the yogurt. This dish was topped with a great salsa of sorts that looked so fresh and inviting I almost tried to steal it. The roasted brussels sprouts looked amazing as well, though of course I’m very partial to the sprouts.

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But the main winner of the entire meal was the kale. Sounds weird, right? That of all this delicious food the kale was the standout? Well it was. Whatever garlicky sauce they put on top of the shredded kale took this bowl over the top. And my friend’s genius idea to add avocado? Hit it out of the park. I had such envy of this deliciousness that I ordered a side of it for me with the intention of taking half home. Instead, I ate it all. It was that good.

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All in all, the restaurant is definitely still finding it’s legs. But that’s to be expected with any new place. The friendly hostess was replaced by a waitress who might not have ever waited tables before and seemed really overwhelmed. But the woman who brought out our food was lovely and super friendly. I’m sure in no time they’ll find their groove. And then it will be too busy to get a table for brunch. But luckily, there’s always takeout.

 

 

 

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