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Gingersnap’s Organic upgrades the East Village vegan scene


The East Village getting yet another vegan joint is hardly news. (Though it does beg the question of why this pocket of the city is such a hive of vegan cooking.) But Gingersnap’s Organic, which opened November 4, arrives with several marks of distinction and difference.

“We are the foodie’s raw vegan spot,” says owner Jamie Graber. “Our chef, Scott Weingard, came from Pure Food and Wine, and he’s never met a vegetable he didn’t like.”

Graber (an alum of Live Live & Organic and the West Coast’s Euphoria Loves Rawvolution), also wanted to create a vibe that didn’t “scream health food. I wanted a place that I could take my yuppie brother,” she jokes.

Gingersnap’s Organic is kitted out in reclaimed oak and exudes a warm, luxe, industrial vibe. To put it in context, it’s an on-the-go version of Pure Food and Wine, where you could also linger with a bottle of wine (it’s BYOB) or arrive with your computer midday and drink coffee while using the free Wi-Fi.

Gingersnap's Organic restaurant in the East Village

On a recent, anonymous visit we tried three dishes: the mezze plate ($15), the nori rolls ($10), and the ramen ($15). The only disappointment was the mezze platter (almond falafel, hummus, cauliflower cous cous with zaatar flax crackers), which was teeny-tiny, even by raw food standards, and bland. For $15 we expected a bit more of a spread than just a few bites.

The ramen, however, was gobsmackingly delicious. It’s a signature dish of the restaurant, along with the Portobello Reuben wrap ($15). The ramen is a generous helping of daikon and kelp sesame noodles, and it comes with marinated shiitake mushrooms, kim chi, and dulse. I could eat it everyday for lunch and never get bored.

The nori rolls made with cauliflower “rice,” avocado, bell pepper, and sprouts were sublime—and satisfying. No quibbles on the portion size for this one. Soon they’ll be offering Juice Press libations, as well.

Gingersnap’s was empty on the Sunday night we visited. But with its yummy (even yuppie-friendly) fare, a long communal table, and (did we mention?) free Wi-Fi, we don’t expect it to stay that way for long. —Alexia Brue

Gingersnap’s Organics, 130 E. 7th St., near Ave A., 212-533-9939, www.gingersnapsorganic.com