Gone Green...and Liking It!

Gone Green...and Liking It!

Was dubious the right word for what I felt before heading out to a press dinner at Table Verte on a recent rainy April evening? Nervous might have been a better word for me, Lois Levine, lover of all things sirloin and then some. I have been a happy red-and white-meat eater ever since I was a child, when my mother swore that I had experienced hamburgers and french fries in every restaurant in the tri-state area, since that was one of the only things this very picky meat-eater would ever choose in a restaurant. Steak houses are my food palaces of choice; I also love the idea of a good rotisserie chicken, and a plate of buttery-soft short ribs or pulled pork is my idea of a hefty slice of heaven. So you can understand why I was seriously contemplating shoving a roast-beef sandwich into my purse in case things got too…well, green. At any rate, with a bit of trepidation, I walked into this cheerful, narrow room on the Lower East Side, decorated with simple but handsome green butcher block tables, exposed brick walls and colorful multi-fabric banquettes, known for its “French vegetarian fare.” And then I tried the dishes. Garden leeks in a balsamic vinaigrette topped off with grapefruit sang of spring, as did a cream of celery soup, bursting with the fragrance of the vegetable (and no cream!). Sturdier choices were roasted Brussels sprouts with strawberries, a mix and match if I ever heard of one, but it worked. Roasting the strawberries neutralizied the sugary sweetness of the fruit and the al dente-cooked Brussels sprouts surprised and satiated the palate. Meanwhile, a vegetable cassoulet was as hearty and filling as virtually any beef stew I ever had. I had no idea that all these garden elements could combine to create meals so substantial and delicious. Am I now a converted herbivore? I think not. But it sure is interesting to know that there are some very appealing alternatives to that hamburger and french fries.

» Table Verte, 127 East 7th St., 212.539.0231.