Cosmic Cantina

Manhattan, New York City

Closed as of Jun 8 10

101 3rd Ave
New York, NY 10003
212-420-0975

Vegetarian

3.4 / 2 votes

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vegan-friendly Mexican restaurant

Restaurant, Bar

Cosmic Cantina is an East Village organic, Mexican restaurant and bar that recently went all-vegetarian. They have all the usual items (burritos, tacos, nachos, etc.) but in addition to the usual rice and beans, they also offer roasted veggies, tofu sour cream, and soy cheese. They also make an effort to offer "healthy" items like spelt and whole wheat tortillas.

Outdoor seating is available in the summer time and their delivery area is from Houston - 30th and 6th Ave to A.

Note that Cosmic Cantina accepts credit cards only for purchases of more than $15.

Added by Cass Danger on Feb 3 10 (last updated Jun 20 10)

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Most Recent Reviews

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rating star

This place, just barely, gets 3 stars. I came here around 11:30 p.m., after a couple hours of beers and conviviality, happy that it's open so late.

Cosmic Cantina has many small tables up front and is a pulsating, tiny, black-light bar in the back. The crowd looked cool and definitely more interesting that what you'd find at a "normal" bar in that part of town. If you're a biker, a hippie, or a vegan, this is a good place to be.

My friends and I all ordered the same thing: a "juicy tofu burrito" without cheese ($9). It's the only thing that stood out on the menu, which is large, extremely confusing, poorly designed, and literally difficult to read (thanks to the choice of a weird, scratchy sci-fi font). I didn't want to waste any more time trying to decipher the mysterious code that is the Cosmic Cantina menu.

The burrito was excellent. It was small, but the ingredients (guacamole, tofu, rice, etc.) were all super-fresh and the thing just tasted great. The tortilla was also superb---I normally don't like white flour tortillas, but this one was soft, silky and wonderful. They also offer spelt and wholewheat tortillas, but they were out-of-stock when I was there.

But things went wrong on other fronts. For one thing $9 is a lot for a small burrito, no matter how good it tastes. Also, tofu is a pretty simple protein option; I don't think Cosmic Cantina realizes that there's a Chipotle in Chelsea (149 8th Avenue) that now offers Gardein chicken, which is WAY more interesting than tofu. Chipotle also offers a much larger burrito for only $7. And I suspect every Chipotle will eventually start carrying Gardein chicken.

To make matters worse, my friends asked for hot sauce but were told that it costs extra. Seriously? How much could 8 drops of Tabasco cost? This is pathetic nickel-and-diming.

Also, Cosmic Cantina accepts credit cards, but only for purchases of over $15. First, businesses can't do that. It's a direct violation of their agreement with credit card companies. If they had told me, "We prefer that you pay cash for your $9 burrito, but we'll take credit cards as well," I would have paid in cash, just to show them I'm a nice guy, even though I hate paying with cash. Instead, they refused to take my credit card and effectively forced me to pay in cash, which produces the same outcome either way, but the latter method makes me annoyed and angry.

I suppose I would return to Cosmic Cantina if I were hungry late at night and had enough cash in my wallet. The burrito was good. If they really want to keep my business they should: make their menu easier to read and understand; accept credit cards with no minimum charge requirements; offer mockmeats to compete with Chipotle; and reduce their prices by at least 10%.

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rating star

I was here before they went veg a few years ago and wasn't particularly impressed. I went again recently and am still not totally impressed with the food but the service is very friendly, they're open late, and I love that they're all vegetarian.

I asked for a sample of their famous tortilla (which the menu encourages you to do) and instead of getting a small bite-worth, like I expected, I was handed a huge, hot, fresh tortilla that was DELICIOUS. I then asked which salsas are the best to go w/ chips so they gave me a little plate w/ samples of all the salsa. How sweet!

The menu is super confusing to read (for instance, you can't just order "chips and salsa", you have to order chips from the tortilla section and then pic a salsa from the condiment/side section). Weird. All the salsas were decent but I think my favorite was the pico de gallo since I like it fresh. They also have a bunch of burritos with different names but there doesn't seem to be much variety among them, as in, one burrito has cheese and sour cream but another just has cheese. They have both vegan cheese and tofu sour cream and they don't charge extra for them, which is fabulous.

I ordered the spelt burrito, which came with pinto beans, soy cheese, rice, and salsa. Not bad but not spectacular. For $6.50, though, I shouldn't complain because it was pretty big. The soy cheese could have been melted more (it was in big chunks) but I'm really glad that they carry it. My friend had the tofu burrito and said it was really good so maybe I'll opt for that next time.

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Neighborhood

East Village

Directions

At E. 13th Street.

3rd Ave-14th St (L)
Union Square (4, 5, 6, L, N, Q, R, W)

Non-Smoking

No Reservations

Prices

$ - inexpensive

Payment

  • MasterCard Visa

Cuisines

  • Mexican

Features

  • (Mostly) Organic
  • Delivery
  • Outdoor Seating

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Hours

11am - 5am

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