• NYC is better than LA: curly’s vegetarian lunch

    January 5th, 2010quarrygirlmore restaurants (not LA), NYC

    one thing i really hate about traveling to nyc, is that i always find a wonderful restaurant with food so delicious and lovely, it makes me sad that i can’t pack a lifetime supply and smuggle it back home in my suitcase. sure enough last week when i visited the big apple it happened again, and the one restaurant that screamed “holy shit why don’t we have this in LA?!?!?!” the loudest, was curly’s vegetarian lunch.

    curly’s vegetarian lunch is a meatless hole in the wall located in the east village, with a larger than life menu full of greasy diner food that more than makes up for their lack of square footage. to call this place vegan-friendly would be an understatement, considering ANY item curly’s offers can be made vegan (and the most appetizing of the selections are already).

    we arrived around noonish on a weekday and were welcomed in from the blustering cold by a friendly gentleman who looked like curly himself, judging by the newspaper clippings hung allover the walls. the service was impeccable; a friendly waitress immediately took our order and was always ready with a refill of hot coffee. we settled on two of the menu items that were vegan by default, the open-faced turkey sandwich and the tofu scramble.

    open-faced turkey sandwich: sage and garlic rubbed soy fillet over corn bread stuffing and toasted rye, napped with gravy and served with cranberry dressing, garlicky kale and butternut squash. $12.95

    while both dishes were great, and the experience overall i cannot fault….the one thing that keeps haunting my dreams is the FUCKING TASTY TURKEY SANDWICH. i know, i know i rave about food a lot on this blog, but please believe me…this deserves extra attention. first off, it was massive. the plate was so full of food, i only ate about half of it and i went from starving to bloated. secondly, it comes with ample servings of all the food groups we vegans crave: tons of greens, check. seitan, check. ridic amount of gravy, check. not to mention the squash, oily yet fluffy stuffing, and sweet chunky cranberry sauce. wowowow. lastly, this plate (enough to feed 3 people) was under $13….in manhattan. that is less than real food daily, and even m cafe holiday plate prices. oh, and this is offered all year round.

    seriously, so many nyc restaurants get talked up, but this REALLY WAS amazing. please put this on your ultimate, must, no matter what, to do list.

    on to the next dish! although it was a little late, it was our first meal of the day….so my husband went with the vegan tofu scramble plus added spinach. (curly’s serves breakfast all day!) this thing came fried up with mounds of yellow tofu, sauteed greens, wedges of toast and deliciously crispy curly fries. not quite as good as my sandwich, but definitely a wonderful indulgence.

    scrambled tofu: with toast and curly fries. plus spinach. $8.70

    look at all that food! eh?!?! i have been brought up to believe that you are supposed to pay more in manhattan for everything…but this was a shit ton of breakfast for under $9, and i challenge you to find a deal that good in LA!

    i cannot even stress how superb our experience at curly’s was, and i urge you to visit them whenever you are in nyc. the place is SUPER SMALL (for the LA crowd, it’s about the size of the meet market/flore cafe/the vegan spot) but they do wonders to actually transform it into a comfortable dining experience.

    i will be back for sure, because curly’s has earned a place in my heart as one of my favorite restaurants ever.

    curly’s vegetarian lunch
    328 East 14th Street
    New York, NY‎
    (212) 598-9998‎
    Mon-Fri: 11am-11pm
    Sat–Sun 10am-11pm

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15 responses to “NYC is better than LA: curly’s vegetarian lunch” RSS icon

  • When I visited a friend in NYC a year ago, she insisted we go to Curly’s. Needless to say, I was not disappointed! Awesome. My only disappointment was that it was not established when I studied in NYC 8 years ago! I would have been there every day.

  • tip: fill up on food at Curlys, then walk 10 minutes to McSorley’s and fill up on beer.

  • Then walk to Lula’s & fill up on a giant sundae of deliciousness!

  • 8 Years ago, Curly’s was VegCity Diner – a 24 hour spot that was just as amazing. They never recovered from the kitchen fire, and NYC never saw a 24hr veg diner again. But, thankfully, they opened Curly’s a couple of years later.

  • I thought that was the case, Melissa. But I do like Curly’s food better than VegCity Diner, for some reason! One thing done better at VegCity, of course, was the 24 hour service.

  • Ha, ha, thats funny spotted_one, I was in NY visiting my sister and that exactly what we ended up doing. She brought us to Curly’s, was not disappointed food was good. Went on to McSorley’s and a couple of other watering holes afterwards.

  • Ha, ha, thats funny spotted_one, I was in NY visiting my sister and that exactly what we ended up doing. She brought us to Curly’s, was not disappointed food was good. Went on to McSorley’s and a couple of other watering holes afterwards.

  • Damn, so Chicago AND New York have vegan diners? Seriously, isn’t this supposed to be vegan central? No super fancy noms and no diner. Hrmph.

  • VegCity was such a great idea (24hr/ veg diner). Went there a couple times when i was in NY. I will have to check out Curly’s next time I am in the apple. I do love Veg Paradise 2 and Gobo so good to add another place in the mix

  • How have I not heard of this place until now? And you just said some of my favorite consecutive words ever – “Breakfast All Day.” Hell, yeah.

  • A good hot breakfast is the hardest meal for a vegan to find, too!

  • Damn it, I really wanted to go there when i was last in NYC but I ran out of time, it’s definitely on the list for next time!

  • Oh dude. I used to live so close to Curly’s. Why didn’t I hit up that turkey sandwich?? Amaaaazing.

  • Good choice! Went there in September with my best friend when we were overnighting in Manhattan and staying at St. Marks. I had chocolate-chili pancakes from the specials – total om nom nom – with their killer sangria. And my friend had this AMAZING buffalo ‘chicken’ sandwich, with curly fries and this fab gravy. Oh my, gotta get back there soon 😀

  • I enjoyed Curly’s, but was turned off by the waitress who told us she wasn’t even vegetarian & spent 10 years veg, but couldn’t get enough protein. She then talked down a bunch of items because she eats the “real thing”.

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