Restaurant Review: Lan Café, New York, New York

Lan Cafe, a hole in the wall with big taste.

<Shhh! Don't use the flash, the kids are sleeping!> Grilled seitan vermicelli.

BBQ Seitan. Seriously amazing.

Inside my "meat" ball Bahn Mi.

The most perfect, crunchy, airy and chewy baguette. Key to a good Bahn Mi.

The family headed up to New York for a two-day stay while my husband conducted a workshop at Cooper Union. I was quite excited that we were going to be staying in the Lower East Side simply because it's the epicenter of so many vegan and vegetarian restaurants. We arrived at the hotel pretty late, so while I put the kids to bed, Mr. Scissors ran out to one of favorite places in New York, Lan Café, for take out. Welcome to New York, indeed!

We discovered Lan Café, a Vietnamese vegan restaurant, a few years ago while walking to Lula's Sweet Apothecary. Lan was closed, so we made note to go try it out at another time. I think on our next NYC trip, we finally made it over. The interior is really tiny, clean and has that charming, "hole-in-the-wall" vibe. My husband ordered the Pho, a Vietnamese cinnamony soup, and I ordered the meat ball Bahn Mi. It was love! Ever since, we always try to go back when we are in the city. Everything I have had has been so satisfying and fresh. I hate when I leave a restaurant and feel so full that I am in pain. Lan actually makes you feel healthy and happy.

The pictures above are my go to favs. The BBQ seitan is amazing; it could probably fool a meat eater. The texture, taste and char are spot on. And, what to speak of the meatball Bhan mi. Quite possibly the world's most perfect sandwich.

Take note, even though they say they open at 12, I have never seen them open until about 3 (call to make sure they are open before you go). The owners operate the eatery, and they may seem grumpy at first, but they are actually very sweet if you talk to them (especially about Buddhism). If you come at dinner time, you may have to wait outside for a table, but the service is quick, so you should be able to be seated fairly quickly. The tables are really close to one another, so you may very well have to listen to inane conversation coming from your neighbors.

If you are hankering for a vegan novelty after dinner, you can take a leisurely stroll over to another one of my favorites, Lula's. It's only a few blocks away! Lucky you!

Lan Café
342 E 6th St
(between 2nd Ave & 1st Ave)
New York, NY 10003
(212) 228-8325

1 comment:

  1. Tulasi-PriyaJuly 03, 2011

    I make Pho every once in a while. Good for what ails ya. Now I'm hungry and want to order in, but I'm too far away!

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