Delicious and inexpensive vegetarian/asian cuisine. I came here last night, late, with a friend from work after a particularly long day in the office. The space - painted in deep greens and browns, with velvet couches and candles flickering on dark wood tables - was immediately relaxing. Best of all (at least for my grandmotherly sensibilities) it was astonishingly quiet, though the place was nearly full. Not in the 'there's-no-one-here-and-this-is-awkward' kind of way, but in the 'wow-it's-great-that-we-can-speak-at-a-normal-volume-and-still-hear-each-other-across-the-table' kind of way. Not so easy to find in new york city.
I ordered the tricolor zenmaki - some sort of vegan rice rolls stuffed with soy ham, carrot and asparagus - and the grilled sesame tofu salad - watercress, napa cabbage, cherry tomatoes and marinated tofu drizzled with sesame ginger vinaigrette. Both were delicious (odd, but delicious). My friend ordered the moo shu fantasia, which came with four delicate wheat crepes and a massive heap of sauteed cabbage, carrots, mushrooms and glass noodles, and the apple iced tea, which tasted like a spicy, grown-up version of apple juice. I'd recommend everything we tasted.
The menu (as new york magazine puts it) is 'relentlessly healthy' and across-the-board inexpensive. The service was friendly and everything coming out of the kitchen looked delicious. Definitely worth a visit.
115 E. 18th St. (near Irving Pl.)
apple iced tea
grilled sesame tofu salad
moo shu fantasia