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May 15, 2018

When in NY, Go To Divya’s Kitchen

by Anne Paddock

New York is a culinary destination for everyone including the plant-based devotee whose toughest decision may very well be where to eat (this hasn’t always been the case for vegans).  There’s fast food (By Chloe, Beyond Sushi, Plantmade, Peacefood, Cinnamon Snail at the Pennsy, Superiority Burger), fancy food (Dovetail, abcV),  pizza (Double Zero), really good food (Candle Cafe, Candle 79, Candle West, Dirt Candy, Blossom, Franchia, Bodhi, The Organic Grill, Nix, Avant Garden, Urban Vegan Kitchen, Arata) and then there is Divya’s Kitchen – an East Village restaurant that is technically vegetarian although most of the selections are deliriously delicious plant-based.

Divya’s Kitchen is well-known for its culinary creations, but there is also the ambiance, and a special something for which there isn’t a word  – casual and comfortable but also elegant in a Provence type of way – that makes Divya’s Kitchen my favorite place to eat in New York.

Divya’s Kitchen radiates tranquility and calmness in all its beige hues and natural sunlight streaming through the front windows. At nighttime, the copper and ceramic lights pick up where the sun left off. As Divya herself says:

Our fresh, balanced meals are prepared with love, deeply rooted in the authentic tradition of Shaka Vansiya (SV) Ayurveda that meets us where we are today. Ayurveda (the ancient medical science of India) teaches us how to maintain balance on all levels and how food can restore our innate ability for healing and wellness.

What all this means is that Divya’s Kitchen is a place to enjoy a nutritious, healthy, and delicious meal while feeling relaxed and calm. There are no loud cell phone ringing (although no one tells anyone to turn off their phone..it’s almost like your phone knows it shouldn’t ring here) or people vying for attention (it’s hard to take your eyes off the food). It’s just you and whoever you’re with enjoying each other’s company and a great meal that leaves you feeling nourished and energized.

Start with the Sunflower-Beet Hummus with spelt-sesame or gluten-free crackers, or the Avocado Dip with watermelon radish and spelt crackers. Together the two appetizers make for a perfect start of a great meal.

For brunch, there is gluten-free buckwheat cake (highly recommended), rose scones, apple muffins, savory waffles, vegetable pancakes, stone cut oatmeal, scrambled paneer toast, and more.

For lunch or dinner, consider the Roasted Seasonal Vegetables made with a quinoa-wild rice pilaf and seasonal vegetables (mine had asparagus, squash, zucchini, radishes, and brussels sprouts) with a tahini sauce (optional). Add sautéed leafy greens and Beluga lentils for a feast.  The Khichari – a grain and lentil stew made with yellow mung beans, red lentils, quinoa, basmati rice, green beans, carrots, zucchini, kale, and a cilantro-mint chutney – is another great choice.

The emphasis is on seasonal with the offerings (read vegetables) changing with the seasons.

Located at 25 1st Avenue (between First and Second Avenue) in the East Village, Divya’s Kitchen is open 7 days a week from 11:30 pm – 10:00 pm. Go to the website:  www.divyaskitchen.com for more information.

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