I just had lunch at Angelica's Herbs down on 9th Street and 1st Avenue and it was totally amazing! The place has been around for years as an herb shop and Chantall, the french herbalist who runs the shop has supplied the herbs and spices for Anjelika's Kitchen around the corner and has just started serving her home cooking - and it knocked me dead! Seriously, I haven't been this blown away since I first ate at Sriprahai.
I should warn fellow hounds - they just started serving food, and the place is spotlessly clean with an open kitchen behind plexi but the vibe is a little clinical, and the place is so quiet as they just started serving food about a week ago. And when I was there it was kind of hard to tell what the food was - it was all displayed on a chill-table ready to be heated, but there were no descriptions so I just pointed at what looked good - and oh my! I tried a yellow dahl paste which looked kind of non-descript and it blew me away! It reminded me of Mina's dahl fry but lighter and um, with a different spice vocabulary. I wish I could better describe what makes the food there so amazing - something about the spices - Chantall is gifted at subtle gradations of flavor and herbs.
So I tried:
yellow dahl: amazingly spiced with washes of coriander and maybe sage? fresh and killer!
some kind of veggie burger: hearty flavor of caramelized onions and root vegetables - like a festival dinner!
zucchini: oh! so tender and fresh! succulent, lightly spiced, oh so good
some kind of filling on celery: some kind of crushed nut filling - not so exciting
lentils on cabbage: this one looked very strange but it was shockingly good! The cabbage was braised to a tender robustness - so perfectly cooked and well balanced by the savory lentil topping. Great vegan comfort food.
guacamole: pureed to a very smooth custard like consistancy and totally out of this world!
Oh, and they have kosher certification. My friend tells me that Chantall only serves vegetables that are in season and that she changes the menu daily based on her whims and which produce looks particularly good that day. She said she has a different kind of veggie burger every day, so I look forward to trying the other varieties, but if you see the one with bits of fried onion sticking out of it, go ahead and get it, it's divine!