Friday Night Dinner at Natural Gourmet Institute

Good Food for a Good Cause: A Friday Night Dinner to Remember

Natural Gourmet Institute

  • Why it’s worth it: Every Friday night, Natural Gourmet Institute is transformed into an intimate dining room, in which the Chef’s Training Program students and instructors prepare a three-course vegan Friday Night Dinner. The meals are innovative, delectable and exquisitely prepared. Last Friday night, I was fortunate enough to be invited to this wonderful culinary experience and the menu for our fabulous dinner was created by Chef Barbara Rich.
  • Vibe/layout: The cozy, candlelit dining room houses several communal tables that foster friendly conversation and culinary appreciation. Don’t come here to be antisocial; come here to embrace wonderful food with wonderful company.
  • Menu for the 10/10 Friday Night Dinner:
    • Antipasto: A whole Portobello mushroom cooked perfectly with pine nut ricotta; cherry tomato-basil salad with mixed greens & white balsamic vinaigrette
      • The white balsamic vinaigrette puts any store-bought dressing to shame. Period.
    • Secondo: Three-grain risotto & tempeh sausage; butternut squash, pearl onions & broccolini with parsley pistou
    • Dolce: Chocolate terrine; almond custard; raspberry coulis & ginger crisps
  • ‘Straunt tip: The curriculum is based off of the founder’s seven core principles: the food should be seasonal, local, whole, traditional, balanced, fresh and delicious. And that’s just what it is.
  • Address: Flatiron, 48 West 21st St #2 (between 5th & Ave of the Americas)
  • Prices: $48.99 (Use code TheStraunt and get 15% off – valid through 10/31/14)

A little something extra:

  • After dinner, Chef Barbara and the culinary students who prepared the meal came out for a post-dinner Q&A. Overall, I was very impressed by the deliciousness of the vegetarian meals that seamed so complex but used such simple ingredients. Not to mention that the white balsamic vinaigrette and the chocolate terrine blew me away!
  • With that said, if you are looking for something different to do on a Friday night in NYC, especially if you have a vegetarian friend or family member, we highly recommend checking out the Friday Night Dinners at Natural Gourmet Institute. The menus change from week to week, based on the ingredients that are in season. Not to mention… 10% of the proceeds from each dinner are donated to a charity.

Natural Gourmet Institute on Urbanspoon

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Tartine (West Village): French Brunch/Lunch

Tartine

  • Why it’s worth it: This corner-store sized, charmingly petite cafe serves simple, delicious and inexpensive French fare, not to mention the best croque madame we’ve ever had (and yes we’ve been to France). You’ll know Tartine by the green awning, sidewalk tables and notoriously long lines on the weekends.
  • Vibe/Layout: Tartine has all of about 15 seats and has been in the neighborhood for two decades, making it a cozy and homey go-to spot. Don’t expect much leg room though, especially if you score a table on the sidewalk.
  • Ideal meal: Croque madame ($14) or croque monsieur ($14)
  • When to go: If you have a random day off from work, or work in the area, head to Tartine for lunch or for a darling croissant.
  • ‘Straunt tip: BYOB alert! … But it gets better….there’s no corkage fee either!
  • Address: West Village, 253 West 11th St (corner of West 4th St)
  • Prices: $8-$25

Tartine on Urbanspoon