Counter - East Village, New York, Vegetarian, Super V
V Rating: Super V
Where: 105 First Avenue, East Village, New York.
When: Mon - Thurs: 5pm - midnight. Fri: 5pm - 1am. Sat: 11am - 1am. Sun: 11am - midnight.
Price: Starters: US$7 - $12. Mains: US$13-$19.
After a beautiful first week of marriage, we reached our last day in New York. Determined to pack as much in as possible, we went on a fascinating and funny Greenwich Village Literary Pub Crawl run by the very talented Bakerloo Theatre company. It was a highlight of our trip, combining both our loves: books (me) and beer (Andy). Actually, I also love beer, so I was a double winner!
As we had a pressing date with books and pubs, we had to rush to our lunchspot, Counter an organic wine and martini bar, and vegetarian bistro.
We got off near NYU and negotiated the East Village streets, jumping over mounds of greying snow and ice water puddles, rushing past shops selling Russian clothes and record stores until we hit the modern storefront of Counter, all sans serif fonts and no capitals here please.
The decor was promising. The front quarter of the room had large, circular bar and (faux?) leather armchairs cosily arranged around small wooden tables. Out the back, Counter became more 50s diner, with fancy laminated green tables, banquettes, and art on the wall.
Counter is vegetarian, not vegan, which sets it apart from many of its upmarket competitors. There are some dishes with cheese, albeit rennet free. All the food is organic.
We were only after a quick lunch, and I felt soaked in calories after a week of the New York high life, so I ordered the vegetable white bean soup with basil pesto. Andy went for the veggie burger with a side of seasoned wedges.
My soup came without bread, and was light and reshreshing. The pesto was mixed through the soup, rather than served on the top, and so it flavoured it with the slightly sweet, slightly bitter basil. I was a little disappointed by the lack of flavour - I like my soups to have a strong, distinctive base, and thought it needed more salt.
Andy’s burger was a generously sized, and served as a large, white bread roll, cut in halves, with a meaty pattie of mushrooms and seitan and some salad on the side. It seemed the ideas was to put the burger together yourself, then squeeze it with a vice-like grip and hope, vainly, that it would fit into your mouth.
I was a bit disappointed by the burger. White bread just does not do it for me, and the burger could have done with more salad to make it less dry. The seasoned wedges were the highlight of the meal, however, and came with a yummy sour cream.
Counter is a gorgeous venue, but in the late afternoon it didn’t have the easy chic of Gobo, or the bohemian charm of Candle 79 or Caravan of Dreams. However, in Counter is famous for being an organic wine bar and I have no doubt that it at night it would make a fantastic bar and bistro.
Sadly, our time in New York was at an end and there was no time to go back.