• franchia: vegan korean fare in nyc

    November 4th, 2008quarrygirlmore restaurants (not LA), NYC

    quarrygirl eats nyc continues! more vegan-ness from our recent trip to manhattan.

    franchia is a fancy schmancy 100% vegan korean restaurant in manhattan, which is a sister restaurant to the even fancier schmancier gourmet restaurant, hangawi. judging by the prices at franchia alone, you’d never guess that this was the lower-rung, cheaper of the two (my entree alone was $18). but the food was delicious and healthy tasting, the atmosphere elegant & traditional, yet clean & modern, and the service was beyond attentive. plus, it’s located on park avenue, which i’m sure drives the prices up. overall, the extra bit of money was well spent and we left feeling perfectly replete and re-energized at the same time.

    when we arrived at franchia, the husband and i were full of three beers each from a local irish bar and feeling the drag of our recent 5 hour flight and various airport delays. we were thrilled when we peered through the windows and saw the vast, relaxing, beautifully decorated tea house beckoning us. we were escorted upstairs by a very kind host and seated at a quiet table in a dimly-lit section of the restaurant.

    needing food immediately, we quickly ordered the vermicelli spring rolls, which proved to be an excellent choice.

    vermicilli spring rolls: $8.95

    vermicilli spring rolls: $8.95

    as you probably know, great dinner ambiance usually makes for shitty photos. the food doesn’t have a chance of coming out in focus with all that moody lighting goin’ on. so bear with me and trust that it was amazing. the spring rolls came in a set of four with a tangy dipping sauce and a beautiful little radish cut up to look like a flower. although these were fried, they were still quite light. the skin was very delicate and thin, and the innards consisted of silky soft noodles and tender vegetables. they were just what we needed after the day we’d had!

    my husband, being a noodle and broccoli fan opted for the spicy franchia noodles. we both agreed that they were pretty tasty.

    spicy franchia noodles: $14.95

    spicy franchia noodles: $14.95

    the spicy noodles weren’t actually that spicy, but then again i drink hot sauce by the bottle, so the fact i needed to ask for some extra shouldn’t be a surprise. the portion was small and dainty, especially for $15, but the quality of the ingredients made up for it. the noodle dish was covered in fresh, beautiful-tasting vegetables such as thick broccoli, succulent mushrooms, and even juicy tomatoes. the perfect blend of flavors and gourmet taste justified the price and puny-ness. for all you la-ers, this place totally reminded me of shojin, a fancy japanese vegan restaurant located in downtown los angeles. if you dig shojin, you’ll love franchia.

    i opted for something a little more saucy and full of fake meat: the vegetarian curry hot pot. this turned out being by far the favorite dish on the table, and that’s a good thing because there was plenty to share with my husband.

    vegetarian curry hot pot: $17.95

    vegetarian curry hot pot: $17.95

    the hot pot was a scrumptious dish in a big stone container that was still sizzlin’ and bubblin’ away when it arrived at our table. filled to the top with the most rich and delicious curry sauce, it also boasted numerous vegetables and tons of protein, including both fake chicken and tofu. spooned out on top of a fluffy plate of white rice, this dish was absolutely divine. thick vegetables, tons of chunky chicken, soft tofu and incredible creamy sauce…it couldn’t get much better. the sauce was the perfect combo of hot spicey-ness, curry flavor and tomato undertones. i think it’s safe to say this is the best non-indian style curry i’ve ever had. our meals also came with a plate of kimchi for the table, which was so delicious, i forgot to get a picture of it! oops.

    so, the bottom line is: for upscale dining in nyc, franchia definitely delivers. you won’t leave this place feeling stuffed or guilty, you will just leave feeling relaxed with some delicious quality food in your belly. you pay a little extra for fancy atmosphere, central location, and awesome ingredients. in my opinion, it’s well worth it.

    sweet table at franchia. we opted for the more traditional chairs, but i still thought this was lovely.

    sweet table at franchia. we opted for the more traditional chairs, but i still thought this was lovely.

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3 responses to “franchia: vegan korean fare in nyc” RSS icon

  • Cool, yet another NYC vegan restaurant I haven’t tried. The curry looks divine!

    I definitely missed you guys at the Meetup, but we will get together soon. (It was definitely the cheese sauce we had at Sante on the nachos and I didn’t care for it).

  • Yum, I love Korean style tofu hot pots! Haven’t had a chance to eat any in years because all the Korean joints out here put secret hidden fish goo in theirs, even when you specify vegetarian. Damn, you really are going to force me to have to visit NY soon!

  • That actually looks better than Hangawi! and much more tranquil.

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  • […] we visited franchia back in 2008 and were big fans of their noodles and curry hot pots, so when their sushi menu came highly recommended from chloe coscarelli, we knew we had to return. ravenously hungry and fresh off our cross-country flight, we hopped in a cab and headed straight to the restaurant. steamed spicy kimchi dumplings. $6.95 […]

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