There is no need to avoid going out to dinner with your vegetarian or vegan friends when you are lunatic-style carnivore who thinks he can’t go a meal without some beef. While Nix is strictly vegetarian and also offers a specialty vegan menu, when you taste each bite, you won’t even know you are missing the meat. The restaurant is a very simple design, and the best part is that there is space! If you have a group of 4 and you are graced with the pleasure of sitting in a circular booth, it makes sharing and catching up so much more enjoyable. You’ll find yourself snuggling and cozying up into the booth longer than your dinner lasts.
The menu is divided into First Order, Lighter, and Bolder. You should share everything- not even a question. The Tandoor Bread should more likely be under a category called “Required” as it’s probably the best dipping and pita-style bread in the city right now. It’s thin, fluffy, salty, and almost like pizza dough but a little crispier. Should you choose a few dips to pair with it, go for the Spiced Eggplant and Pine Nuts. Even when we finished our meal, I was still sneaking bites of this dip. I need to learn how to make this someday.
Under the Lighter category, our favorite was definitely the Baby Carrots en Papillote (basically parchment paper) with Cracked Bulgur, Almonds, and Spices. It still baffles me how cooked carrots have really stepped it up a thousand noches in the food game. Going from just steamed, watery carrots to cooked, elongated and colorful carrots covered in spices that melt in your mouth, just makes eating vegetables and life better. They are cooked enough so you can cut them with the side of your fork and let them just almost dissolve in your mouth. We skipped the rest of the dishes in this section because we were ready to get after the bolder dishes which ended up being a smart decision.
So everyone knows cauliflower has become one of the most diverse veggies in the last few years. You can make bread with it, pizza crust, a cauliflower “steak” and even “rice.” At Nix, they trick you into almost thinking you are eating pork steamed buns at Momofuku! The cauliflower is cooked in a tempura batter and covered in a sweet, brown sauce with sesame seeds. It’s served with the softest, pillow like buns for you to make a little sandwich with pickles, carrots, and radishes for some extra crunch. While I thought I always preferred my vegetables steamed, roasted, or baked over tempura, this steamed bun of a sandwich sure showed me. It makes you never want to eat a pork bun again. There. I said it.
The Potato Gnocchi with Golden Squash and Truffles is like any other astonishing gnocchi dish you’ve had at any other popular Italian restaurant. Not saying this is a bad thing, just pointing out it is up to par with all of the other competitors, and it’s very warm and comfort like as you’d expect. Another dish that impressed and threw us for a satisfying loop, was the Shiitake “Cacio e Pepe.” Served with green beans and creamy polenta, the creaminess and gritty polenta at the bottom of the bowl truly fools you into believing that this is a pasta dish. Again those mushrooms and vegetables are so tasty with the sauce, that you don’t even have a chance to consider missing some meaty ragu in there.
The experience at Nix is extremely special because no other vegetarian restaurant in the city is using as fresh ingredients and creating familiar dishes like this. There is no fake meat like tempeh or soy nuggets and everything is super familiar, but still blows your mind with the outcome and what Chef Fraser puts on that plate.