Restaurant Review: Sacred Chow

Sacred Chow
227 Sullivan Street
(between West 3rd Street and Bleeker Street)
Greenwich Village, Manhattan

Vegiboys Rating (2/4)

After work on a recent Friday, I made my way down to Greenwich Village, meeting up with Brian and the ever frolicsome Bess Mattassa for the second page in our restaurant adventures. Brian and Bess had spent the day hiking the length of Tremont Avenue (the final feather in their caps for walking the entirety of the longest streets in each borough), and all looked to kosher-vegan restaurant Sacred Chow for some reenergizing, stomach-fulfilling vegetarian goodness.

The Sacred Chow is a small place, squeezed in between a shoe repair store and a head shop on Sullivan Street just south of West 3rd. The tall front windows brought in some beautiful natural light from the setting sun, and dim Moroccan lamps gave all the ambient lighting we needed after dark. It looks like local artists provide the temporary wall decorations. Photographs of abandoned fairgrounds were the exhibit du jour; maybe not the best fit for the space, but no more bizarre a décor than photos of men bench pressing livestock.

The restaurant offers sandwich entrées, but their signature dishes are their tapas. Trying for a true Andalusian experience, Brian and I put in an order for a half-pitcher of sangría. Bess went with an herbal tea. The waiter took the order with aplomb and returned with the alcohol in good time.

Saccharine sangría and the well-behaved baby at a neighboring table kept us entertained until the arrival of our food, and in all fairness, we were served within half an hour after our order. That said, perhaps the walk had affected Brian’s and Bess’ gastronomic clocks and maybe a day of Excel sheets and conference calls had affected mine, but if you were as hungry as we were, the speed of service seemed sluggish. The tapas we received, though interesting, were not of the sort of complexity you’d expect for 30 minutes of preparation, especially as many of the elements would have been pre-prepared.

Points given for gratifying presentation though: tiered towers of tapas crowded the table.

Dishes to go for? The latkes were enjoyed all around; they had the deep flavor of root vegetables and a date butter spread. The sunflower/lentil paté was another three-way favorite. The vegetable special was fresh, bold, and refreshing; it hit the tongue with the same flavors as a tabbouleh salad. Brian found some satisfaction in the soba noodles with peanut sauce.

Less balanced? Bess loved the spices in her soy meatballs, but the plate was heavy on sauce and light on substance. Shiitake mushrooms with a mustard sauce were nice tasting, but rubbery to chew. Both Brian and I had requested the same orange blackstrap BBQ seitan; Brian’s was blackened with a sweet, crisp coating, while mine had the heady stewed quality of meats found at the Sunday buffets in Eastern European social clubs.

Sadly, we have to recommend skipping dessert. It was too long a wait for a pre-made bread pudding and a brownie sundae, neither of which would trump any middling dessert issued from the average college dormitory kitchen.

The 3 tapas for $18 is probably the best deal on the menu, but also probably costs a few more bucks than it should. Overall, we spent around $40 per person for the meal. Worth trying? Definitely. Tapas aren’t often the most accessible form of food for vegetarians, and Sacred Chow delivers us a great variety. But don’t go expecting a budget meal, and bring a snack, just in case the sangría doesn’t cut it while you wait for your food.

Food (2/4)
Atmosphere & Service
Value (2/4)

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