Image for Cass Danger

rating star

Good food and beautiful atmosphere.

I've had a number of dishes here over the years but my absolute favorite plate, the vegetable mosaic platter is no longer offered (perhaps it's seasonal?). It had orange scented fennel, spicy quinoa, whipped sweet potatoes, garlic green beans, and a few other veggies. All were cooked and seasoned perfectly, were very distinct, yet none clashed with each other.

I had the veggie burger a couple years ago and it had a magnificent flavor, but the texture is unexpectedly soft. I had it again a few weeks ago and the texture was much improved but the flavor wasn't anything spectacular. The nicoise-style white bean and pesto soup has an amazing flavor, but could use a bit more pesto. The seitan tenderloin is also good, but I don't think it's one of their best dishes. It's not particularly creative or exceptionally flavorful.

The only dessert I had here was a brownie sundae with homemade ice cream, which was tasty and artistically prepared. My only complaint was that it was exceedingly sweet - even for a dessert!

Image for conde.kedar

rating star

UPDATE: Counter has since down-sized its menu considerably and now only offers simple sandwiches and salads and appetizers. I think the prices are too high for what they offer (the only dish that stood out to any of the four of us was the seitan burger).

Their alcohol prices are also steep. When I came back a second time I had a draft beer and we shared a paprika popcorn ($3) which was really tasty and one of the cheapest things on the menu (that said, how expensive is it to make popcorn and then sprinkle paprika on top?).

I'd come back to Counter mostly just for the ambience and location. Also, it doesn't seem to get too crowded, so this is a good spot if you're looking to accommodate a larger group of people.

Original review: Counter is decent at best, but this rating rests heavily on its location, atmosphere and generous portions. The service was friendly. But for the most part, I found the food to be bland and uninspiring, especially considering the hefty price tag. My paella was large, but had no zing to it; it seemed more like a mishmash of fresh vegetables, with little thought to seasoning or taste. Similarly the "tornadoes of seitan" was something more akin to a cloudy day; there was no "pop" to the dish. In the end, I found Counter to be an imitation of other upscale NYC joints like Blossom or Candle 79; though it charges in the same price range as those two, Counter fails to bring the accompanying expectation of taste and novelty.

Image for Lola

rating star

I had a phenomenal meal at Counter. I have to disagree with some of the previous posts. I thought my meal at Counter was much better than similar meals that I have eaten at Blossom and at Candle 79.

My date and I started off our meal with a round of drinks. I ordered the "Tie Me To the Bedpost" (a lavender and rosemary-infused vodka, topped with cranberry and lime juices). The rosemary taste mixed nicely with the cranberry, but the lavender seemed to be overpowered by the other flavors.
I later ordered an "R-rated Root Beer," which is one of the two best drinks I have ever tasted. Seriously. Imagine sarsaparilla, wintergreen and vanilla-infused vodka topped with Tahitian vanilla soy ice cream... I probably should have saved it for dessert, but I just couldn't help myself.

Next, we ordered a round of appetizers. I loved the potato almond gnocchi, served with a lemon-thyme sauce and crispy sage. Both my date and I agreed that the crispy sage was the best part of the appetizer. It resembled a potato chip in texture, but absorbed the flavor of the lemon sauce very well and added its own savory taste.

For my entree, I decided to try the Italian Farmhouse Panini. At first I was a bit skeptical about the idea of eating a sandwich for dinner, but this sandwich was every bit as delicious as it was unpretentious. The sweetness of the plum tomatoes juxtaposed with saltiness of the bread and the crunchiness of the Italian ciabatta juxtaposed with the creaminess of the rosemary aoli sauce and the walnut-lentil pate made every bite exciting.

The dessert was the only part of the meal that I wasn't absolutely thrilled with. I ordered the vegan creme brulee, which had a texture and flavor that more closely resembled cheesecake than creme brulee. It wasn't bad, but I had really gotten my hopes up (I've only ever once found good vegan creme brulee at a restaurant and it was at The Inn of the Seventh Ray in Topanga Canyon, California - unfortunately, a little too far away from where I live).

Aside from my minor disappointment in the dessert that I ordered, the only other real complaint that I have about Counter is that the restaurant faces a fast food restaurant (which featured a large picture of a burger on the wall - not the most appetizing sight for vegans to look at while eating). Everything else (the service, the ambience, the food) was fabulous.

rating star

An excellent vegan restaurant and funky wine bar. The dishes are inspired and there is much attention to detail. It feels upscale but also casual. I had a phenomenal cauliflower dish and was also blown away by how delicious even the simple side dishes were, like sauteed vegetables or spiced quinoa. A great place for a nice evening with a close friend or a lover.

rating star

First off, the wine selection is overpriced and not that good -- they could do a far better job on it. They also do short-pours on the wine. Most wine bars in the area will pull 6-8 glasses off a bottle, they seem to go for 8-12.

I found the entrees to be overpriced and a bit bland. The lentil walnut spread on foccaccia (i think) was a standout though.

Image for Dave Rolsky

rating star

The food I had here was uniformly fantastic, particularly the spinach and shallot strudel appetizer, which was a roll of flaky phyllo-like dough around a center of sauteed spinach and shallots, served with a sweet chutney.

However, the most amazing part of the meal was the chocolate torte I had for dessert, which may be the single best vegan dessert I've ever had, even better than the chocolate almond midnight cake at Millenium.

Update: I went back just recently in May of 2005, and it was still fantastic. I had the paella as my entree, and it was great. I saw they had ramps on the menu in another dish, and asked if I could have some on the side, and they included them at no extra charge. They were also happy to let me sit and read for fifteen minutes before I ordered dessert, even though they were quite busy that night. I appreciated the lack of pressure to free up the table.

Counter is a really great restaurant, both in food and service, and I'm looking forward to returning.

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Swanky vegan restaurant and wine bar. They have a wide selection of organic wines and beers, and do indicate which contain honey. They also have wine tasting menus, serving organic/biodynamic wines. On Tuesday nights, they have a three course raw food tasting menu for $35, with optional win pairing for $18.

The place is wheel chair accessible, very clean, and pretty laid back for it's price range. Dinners range from $7-$10 for appetizers, $11-$16 for entrees. Desserts were about $7. They have a Weekend Brunch from 11-4 that we still have not tried yet. Must try to get there.

They also have a selection of vegan wines (processed without animal products). We just tried their raw prix fixe, and it was really good. I was skeptical, but I've been converted. Their raw nut creams are simply incredible. And their dessert items of coconut custard (raw) and their chocolate tart are fabulous.

PLEASE MAKE SURE TO MAKE RESERVATIONS ON WEEKENDS. Otherwise, you will be made to feel like a second class citizen. Also, it is not quiet, and it is NOT recommended as a romantic setting. I just sat next to a screaming baby for an hour during dinner. Not particularly enjoyable.

rating star

This place has _very_ good food. And it is surprisingly cheap for how good the food is and how knowledgeable the staff is.
This is definitely a place I will be frequenting.

Basically almost everything is vegan (including the deserts), definitely worth checking out if you are in the NYC area.

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