I surprised myself by accompanying my friend Susan to The Seasoned Vegan up in Harlem on the corner of St. Nicholas and 113th Street. We laughed about it because cruising a vegan restaurant is rarely my first thought. It turned out to be not only good but crowded (in a good way), energized, and really fun. Once we were out on the street, we felt invigorated, sort of like after seeing a good play.
On the inside, another group of diners was celebrating a birthday. Well, the staff – maybe 6 people – came out with a tiny candlelit cake, then launched into the Happy Birthday chorus of Stevie Wonder’s homage to Martin Luther King! I was blown away! They danced. They sang. It went on and on. They found a groove. They stuck with it!
Same thing with the food. I had a Harlem Chopped Cheeseburger, it was very good, and I would order it again. A real, street version Chopped Cheese is something you can’t get in a real restaurant; you need to go into one of those joints called ‘Gourmet Deli’, or some place like that, and it will probably be way uptown, or maybe in Brooklyn or Queens.
Here’s a really ‘white’ take on chopped cheese. By the way, a chopped cheese is a real New York sandwich. And here is a charming video about ‘Love what you do”, featuring the staff of the restaurant. Here is a new review in the NY Times. No reservations. Take-out is available. Menu.