Photo: by Chloe
As far as what’s cool in food right now, plant-based eating is pretty much the zeitgeist (when not eclipsed by the next big fried chicken sandwich). Everyone from Beyoncé to Mark Bittman has preached the benefits of eating a mostly vegan, heavily kale-infused diet. One of the main takeaways of veganism-of-the-now is that it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. For every steadfast vegan out there, there’s a healthful eater who would do anything for a cheeseburger but has a sensibility for seitan. Just as often as carnivores are embracing plant-based meals, traditional chefs are creating their own meat-less imitations of American classics. Take Van Leewuen, the artisan ice cream makers who got their start scooping their signature milk and cream specialties from their yellow trucks and now serve a vegan ice cream in their seven stores that has the New York Times drooling.
Then of course, there are chefs who’ve always been dedicated to the vegan cause. With the demand for healthy food on the rise, such chefs have more of an opportunity than ever to bring their inventive dishes to the masses. The latest to do so is Chloe Coscarelli, a vegan chef who made a name for herself as the winner of Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars,” back when cupcakes were the coolest thing since sliced bread. Along with Samantha Wasser of ESquared Hospitality, the 27-year old, who counts cookbook author and social media star on her resume, started by Chloe, a hip fast-casual vegan restaurant on the corner of Bleecker and MacDougal in the West Village, open today.
Located on the outskirts of NYU’s campus, by Chloe has a casual vibe targeted at the young, downtown eater. Think of it as Westville-meets-Organic Avenue-meets-Shake Shack, with a little bit of Van Leeuwen mixed in. The menu has a solid salad selection (including a kale caesar), and hearty main dishes that replace meat with plant, nut and wheat combos, like a vegan burger made with a tempeh, lentil, chia seed and walnut patty or a portabello mushrom-based whiskey BBQ. Non-dairy wise, there’s a heartwarming mac n’ cheese and truly mouthwatering ice cream sandwiches in flavors like roasted banana bourbon and coffee chip. We can only hope that she introduces vegan fried chicken down the line.