When most of us want comfort food, we order the meaty, cheesy, gravy-smothered meals we grew up eating. But some New York restaurants are serving up the classics without meat or dairy—and they taste just as good, if not better, than the real thing. Check out six comforting vegan alternatives that will satisfy without the guilt.
Forget fried chicken. If you haven’t tried chef Amanda Cohen’s legendary Korean fried broccoli, it’s time to find out what you’re missing. (But plan ahead—the LES eatery is booked months in advance.) Pop one of these spicy, deep-fried florets in your mouth and you’ll immediately want to put in another order. As Cohen puts it on her menu, “basically it’s crack in broccoli form.” Pro tip: Omit the garlic cream sauce to keep it all-vegan. 86 Allen St., 212-228-7732
Whether you can devour a pulled pork sandwich without coming up for air or you’re looking for a new way to eat your veggies, get the Whiskey BBQ at by Chloe—Chloe Coscarelli’s vegan joint that everyone can't stop talking about. A smoky mixture of portobellos and seitan sits between a potato bun along with sautéed kale, grilled pineapple, onion marmalade, and of course, bourbon barbecue sauce. 185 Bleecker St., 212-290-8000
The foundation of any respectable quesadilla is cheese—well, until now. You won’t miss the melted gruyere (really!) when you order the vegan version of this hearty quesadilla created by executive chef Soozee Nguyen. Overflowing with shiitake, cremini, and grilled oyster mushrooms, the tortilla is also stuffed with truffle cashew crema and cashew cheese and served with salsa verde and vegan sour cream. 168 Borinquen Pl., Brooklyn, 718-387-3337
Nothing beats a steaming heap of spaghetti and meatballs, and Candle 79’s vegan interpretation is no exception. Flavorful seitan meatballs sit underneath a pile of spaghetti tossed with spinach, roasted garlic, and truffled tomato sauce and finished off with a sprinkling of cashew parmesan. 154 E. 79th St., 212-537-7179
A decadent cream sauce with absolutely no dairy? Don’t focus on the lack thereof. Concentrate on savoring every bite of Blossom owner Pamela Blackwell’s rigatoni dish doused with a rich porcini mushroom sauce and sprinkled with pistachio gremolata. 187 Ninth Ave., 212-627-1144
Local gourmands have spoken: Poco owner Sara Grizzle was declared the winner of the Natural Gourmet Institute’s vegan mac and cheese cook-off in October. And now New Yorkers can taste the winning recipe any night of the week at her Alphabet City restaurant. Expect a big bowl of oversized shells mixed with cashew cheese, roasted broccoli, sautéed mushrooms, and garlic spinach covered with a crunchy layer of truffled panko. 33 Avenue B, 212-228-4461