A new vegan restaurant New York City just opened in the East Village (122 E. 7th St. near Ave. A). Rabbit joins the ranks of fancy vegan restaurants in NYC and is the latest concept from James Beard nominated Ravi DeRossi’s Overthrow Hospitality.
It adds something new to the portfolio which features some of the best vegan restaurants in NYC — a raw food restaurant.
Unlike Overthrow’s other concepts, this restaurant features two seatings a night — 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. — and a set, 13-course menu.
Every Wednesday through Sunday, diners pack into the sliver or a restaurant that is made up by 12 plush seats at a marble bar.
Like<Cadence,the restaurant which previously was there, the magic all happens behind the bar.
Rabbit’s executive chef Xila Caudillo does the rest. She take diners through a whimsical experience as she and her team, including sous chef Lo Serrano, assemble dishes and pass them over to guests.
The raw food restaurant in NYC was a long time coming.
“We’ve had the idea to create a raw vegan restaurant for some time, and we were blown away when Chef Xila came to us with the outline of this menu.” says DeRossi. “When it came time to build out the space, we wanted to really let the food shine while nodding to its mystical and whimsical feel. We’re excited for people to be whisked away into the experience, losing themselves within the food— and this chef’s counter space is a perfect opportunity for that.”
Caudillo was most recently the executive chef at Etérea, another of Overthrow’s restaurants She’s tapped into her teen years when she was consuming a raw vegan diet.
“I thought about all the things I learned about making raw food and figured out a way to elevate it,” she explains. “Magic was on my mind when I did it.”
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Inspired by her love of Harry Potter, Star Wars and the fantasy genre, Caudillo set out to create a menu that brought together nature and whimsy. The result is vibrant raw dishes with a healthy smattering of edible flowers and glitter.
“There’s something spiritual and holistic about eating vegan, especially raw,” she says of the one of the new vegan restaurants in NYC.
That idea of whimsy carries over from the menu that ties in Alice in Wonderland complete with illustrations and a poem, to the drink program.
Aside from normal water, Rabbit offers infused water. Inside glass flasks, crystals, flowers and herbs are packed in and then water is poured over them.
Curated by Serrano, the infused waters change with the seasons. For now, it’s Virgo season and inside the bottle is lavender, sunflowers and crystals.
Also being served are low ACV cocktails and a wine list curated by Wine Director Drew Brady. The small wine selection highlights exclusively Latinx winemakers, which pays homage to Caudillo’s Mexican-American roots.
Caudillo’s globally-inspired 13-course menu is set to change seasonally.
The raw vegan menu at Rabbit
The meal begins with gazpacho.
But, this isn’t any gazpacho.
The soup comes served within a ring of juicy watermelon. The gazpacho, a blend of tomato, strawberry, watermelons and cucumber, comes topped with slivered dehydrated almonds.
On top of the dish are sliced strawberries and Heirloom tomatoes and passionfruit. The result is a perfect combination of sweet, tart and slightly savory and the beginning of a ride through Caudillo’s creative culinary mind.
Up next, a single cremini mushroom served in a brass bowl. It’s best to nibble on the mushroom so you can enjoy all of its goodness. Stuffed with a creamy pine nut ricotta and topped with chimichurri and an edible flower, the mushroom itself is marinated overnight in tamari, olive oil and lemon juice.
Third, the beet ravioli with smoked pine nuts.
Served on a glass plate, ribbons of raw vegan hollandaise sauce made with cashews, mingle with beet coulis. The star of this plate is smoked pine nut ricotta sandwiched between two thin slices of golden beet.
Following the ravioli, a piece of watermelon sushi.
The first component of this dish, the Forbidden rice, is soaked overnight with rice vinegar. Then, it’s pressed and dehydrated to give it a slight crispness.
On top of the rice is a slice of watermelon that’s been marinated overnight in sesame oil, vinegar and tamarai. The sushi is finished with a spicy cashew and olive oil mayo aioli with chili de árbol for a gentle heat and nori.
Next, Al Pastor.
The purple cabbage leaf serves as the vessel for this taco.
It’s filled with a pineapple pico de gallo and walnut meat. Pineapple lends a slight sweetness to the otherwise savory dish that’s complemented by habanero, jalapeño and pickled peppers.
Perhaps the most darling of the dishes is the Garden course.
Keeping with the whimsical spirit of the menu, the Garden is served in a glass shot glass.
The layered dish begins with grapefruit and then a yuzu avocado mousse. It’s capped off with “dirt”, a blend of almond flour, activated charcoal, lemon zest and mixed herbs.
A tiny crudite of fresh veggies complete with leafy stems finish the Garden off, the tiny bites buried into the dirt to be pulled out by diners.
The experience continues with the Carta Di Musica.
The colorful dish features a beet and flaxseed cracker with a spread of toasted pine nut ricotta with preserved lemon. On top of that are rainbow carrots and zucchini dressed in a sweet yuzu vinaigrette along with microgreens, as well as dried and fresh flowers.
After that, the tartar.
Creamy guacamole comes under a bed of tomatoes marinated in tamari along with fresh Heirloom tomatoes, sesame oil and fresh garlic. Dehydrated plantains add a crispness to the dish and are perfect for scooping up the tartar.
For the ninth course, Caudillo serves a cozy cashew milk.
But, this isn’t any cashew milk. It’s made with saffron, sea moss and a cardamom rosewater. Playful and nurturing, it’s garnished with flowers and her signature edible glitter.
Hummus is the 10th dish
A flax, pumpkin and sunflower seed cracker comes with a layer of sunflower seed hummus. Caudillo adds a “feta” cheese sauce made with cashews, along with walnut meat, sumac and a harissa cherry salsa.
It’s adorned with fresh cherries and cucumbers, along with micro greens and flowers.
Next, a kelp salad.
Clear kelp noodles deliver a beloved crunch. They are complemented by olives, pepperoncini, red onion, tomatoes and cucumbers. Adding a little more salt and cheesiness is a dehydrated pine nut feta crisp on top, and smaller bits crumbled in, that Caudillo aptly describes as similar to a Cheezit.
Finally, the last savory course of the experience is a zucchini lasagna.
The dish is served warm. It’s only warm because it’s fresh out of the dehydrator. It’s most definitely not cooked.
Sundried tomato marinara and thinly sliced zucchini hold together a creamy basil cashew pesto ricotta.
Caudillo ends the meal with playful deconstructed blackberry yuzu cheesecake with a cashew date crumble.
One of the prettiest dishes, its got fresh blackberries, edible flowers and, of course, glitter.
122 E. Seventh St., New York City, 10009; Weds. – Sun.: 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. seatings, $75 per person for 13-course meal.