The Pursuit of Peaceful Proteins
A cow, seated in the lotus position and underscored by the caption ‘Vegan Tapas,’ greets visitors to the newly located and expanded Sacred Chow in Manhattan’s West Village.
More than a symbol, the cow in the lotus position gives a clue to the philosophy and vision behind this restaurant.
Cliff Preefer opened the original location at Hudson Street in 1995. The restaurant buzzed, but its small size meant a mostly carry-out atmosphere with few tables. So Cliff made the move to the larger Sullivan Street location, looking to “create an ambiance.” Cliff expresses a devotion to peaceful change: “Everything we do is a practice of trying to be less violent.” Instead of anger toward others who do not share this peaceful perspective on diet, Cliff resolved to “make me more gentle, and maybe in that way, I can affect other things in the world.”
Upon entering Sacred Chow, guests find a warm brick interior and a soothing mosaic fountain, brightened by hanging lanterns. A lone silver disco ball in the back of the room adds a dash of kitsch.
The menu offers “powerful vegan foods to fuel your mind, body and soul,” and features organic, kosher ingredients. My concern was the irony that the restaurant does serve a few dairy products. They are pointed out, and a vegan alternative is noted in each case. Still, as observed by Richard Twine, Daniel Hammer and Lee Hall at our July conference, a cow’s freedom from the dairy shouldn’t be a marginal issue. I hope the management is open to persuasion on this; if so, the restaurant will become truly non-violent.
Sacred Chow’s menu is divided into sections listed as Power Protein Heroes, Power Soups and Stews, Power Tapas, Power Beverages, and Power Pastries. A good choice from the Power Protein Heroes is the Orange Barbecued Seitan Sub, made with sliced chunky orange-molasses seitan, and roasted ginger, onions, garlic sauce and casein-free soy cheese. The dish is served on a toasted six-inch hero roll, and comes with baby greens, pickle spears and tangy dill spread.
From the Power Tapas section, I’d pick the Dijon Marinated Raw Kale, pleasing to both the palate and eye. The fresh, crisp combination of purple and green kale is complemented well by the marinade and is a nice entrance to the idea of enjoying raw vegetables.
The Root Vegetable Latkes are delicate and mild, and quite a contrast to traditional greasy, heavy latkes. They are served with an earthy and rich Carrot Pâté.
The Spicy Kalamata Olive Seitan is an ace, with a unique consistency and taste. Chewy, moist, and brushed with a bit of spice, the tender bite-sized pieces are served with a dipping sauce with floating bits of ginger.
In addition to wonderful service, my accommodating server invited me to sample the Grilled Western Tofu. Served chilled, the dish has a distinctly smoked essence.
The large selection of desserts is irresistible, no matter how full you are. I chose the Soy Cream-Frosted Cupcakes. Covered in rainbow sprinkles, the smooth, creamy chocolate frosting complements the moist vanilla cake, adding just a light sweet touch — a perfect finish.
Sacred Chow: The details
Find it at 227 Sullivan Street (between West 3rd and Bleecker Streets)
New York, NY 10012 212.337.0863 or 212.337.0864
On the Internet at www.sacredchow.com
Open daily for Breakfast at 8am through 11pm daily. Weekend Brunch menu.
Sacred Chow Power Happy Hour specials from 4pm-6:30pm daily.
Free delivery-minimum order-$10.00. Delivery area-West and East Village, Soho Wholesale and house accounts available. Catering available in addition to special occasion cakes.