October 1, 2019
abcV, the vegan sister restaurant to Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s beloved ABC Kitchen and ABC Cocina, is on a mission to “inspire a cultural shift towards plant-based intelligence through creativity and deliciousness.”
The plant-based restaurant is helmed by Chef de Cuisine Neal Harden, a graduate of the Natural Gourmet Institute for Food and Health, and a vegetarian since teenhood. Hailed as a “plant whisperer” by some, Harden got his footing as a chef working everywhere from Bali to Brooklyn, as well as the now-closed plant-based eatery Pure Food and Wine.
Harden, who grew up gardening alongside his mother in Maine, now tends his own plot of herbs and leafy greens in the backyard of his Brooklyn apartment. “Having a garden really keeps me in touch with the seasonality of the vegetables,” says Harden. “When vendors and farmers would tell me that things were going to be late this year due to rain and weather, I already understood why based on what was going on in my garden.” (You can read his guide to growing grub in your own backyard here.)
Harden’s devotion to growing and eating plants is reflected in abcV’s eclectic menu, which highlights colorful ingredients and fresh produce. “There is no appetizer/entrée format,” explains Harden. “It is a lot of little dishes, each with a different color of the rainbow and a different texture, flavor, and nutritional role. It’s a set of small things versus a giant plate of something monotonous.
Monotonous the menu certainly is not. abcV’s innovative, health-forward concoctions include lighter bites like the Whole Roasted Cauliflower and Avocado Lettuce Cups, as well as heartier dishes like the Smoky Eggplant Dosa and Sweet Corn Wontons.
There have been some surprises, as well. Grub Street dubbed Harden’s Fresh Sauerkraut (Savoy cabbage served on a plate with horseradish, dill, and a little EVOO) “nothing short of groundbreaking” and Jean-Georges, who grew up eating sauerkraut in Alsace, agrees, admitting that he likes to eat it with eggs for breakfast.
We visited abcV a few weeks ago and were blown away by the diversity of flavors in each dish. The Roasted Cauliflower (served with a warm yellow turmeric-tahini sauce) was a crowd favorite. We also loved the Mushroom Walnut Bolognese (pictured above), which was somehow both creamy and crunchy, sweet and savory—a true symphony of textures and flavors.
Like the other restaurants in the ABC trio, abcV’s ambiance is worth the visit alone. The restaurant sparkles with delicate white and purple lights, giving it an enchanted fairy-tale vibe. The illusion is only further cemented by an angelic wait staff, who always seemed to be floating by, ready to answer all your food-based queries.
In addition to offering a full breakfast, lunch, dinner, and brunch menu (plus cocktails, teas, juices, and tonics), abcV happily hosts special events. You can email them (firstname.lastname@example.org) to kick off a collaboration. And if you’re simply looking to enjoy an incredible plant-based meal, we suggest stopping by the restaurant any day of the week!
Thank you for a delicious dinner, abcV!