Vegetarians used to be some of the most insufferably self-righteous eaters around. Even if they weren’t preaching ethics and environmental footprints, they were still serving the blandest food going. Not so much anymore.
One of the most exciting restaurant trends of recent years has been the growth of exciting, creative vegetarian restaurants. Not fake-meat tofu dishes, but crazy, over-the-top, unhealthy concoctions that instead of being stand-ins for meat, actually make the vegetables themselves enticing.
A great new example is East Village hole-in-the-wall Dirt Candy, which goes by the motto "Anyone can cook a hamburger, but leave the vegetables to the professionals."
You can start with jalapeno hush puppies served with maple butter, move on to watermelon radish kimchi doughnuts, have asparagus saffron broth paella for a main and finish it off with hazelnut caramel popcorn pudding.
Everything on the menu can be made vegan by request, but even meatheads will leave with full bellies.