Getting a good meal is nearly effortless on the North Fork, where inventive menus abound and local ingredients proliferate. It’s decidedly more complicated to find suitable — not to mention tasty — fare if you are a vegan.
And while someone who doesn’t eat animal products (aside from meat, that includes eggs and dairy) can never go wrong by ordering a salad, vegans deserve options.
“It’s difficult a lot of times,” said Kristen Reyes, who has been vegan for nine years and is vice president of marketing and events at Hotel Indigo East End and Bistro 72 in Riverhead. “I don’t find [vegan] entrées anywhere.”
That’s why it was so important for Reyes to put her mark on Bistro 72’s seasonal menus, which she ensures always contain an assortment of 100 percent vegan breakfast, lunch and dinner options.
“Our biggest problem [as vegans] is that we have to go into restaurants and say, ‘Leave this out; take the cheese off,’ ” she said. “We want to make it a dining experience that is pleasurable because you don’t have to stress out over what you’re going to order.”
Bistro 72 isn’t the only local restaurant that caters to vegan diners. Dark Horse, also in Riverhead, offers a veggie and grain dish inspired by an ancient South American recipe. And The Market in Greenport serves up an array of animal-free wraps, burgers and burritos. You can even enjoy a slice of vegan chocolate cake there.
Hungry for more? Here’s a look at just some of the North Fork’s vegan offerings.
Dark Horse Restaurant, 1 East Main St., Riverhead
If you’re in the mood for a taste of South America, order the Azteca ($17), an entrée made with roasted tomatoes, beans, corn and super-grains from the Andes. A lunch-sized portion is also available for $14.
Bistro 72, 1830 W. Main St., Riverhead
Menus rotate seasonally at Bistro 72, but Ms. Reyes said you can expect breakfast options like steel-cut oats and fresh fruit plates. For lunch, try the three-bean chili ($8) garnished with avocado, which Ms. Reyes called “a huge hit” with vegans and carnivores alike. There’s also a vegetable wrap ($13) made with local greens, hummus, kale pesto and white wine vinaigrette. Craving Italian? The restaurant offers a vegetable flatbread pizza ($11) made with local produce and shredded Daiya “cheese.”
Green Earth Natural Foods, 50 E. Main St., Riverhead
Pop into this longtime health food store to purchase a ready-made vegetable wrap in assorted varieties.
Good Food, 535 Pike St., Mattituck
If you’re jonesing for a quick but hearty meal, try Good Food’s veggie chili ($6.95 small, $8.95 large), made with fresh produce and spices. Also look for their French lentil soup, available on a rotating basis.
Love Lane Kitchen, 240 Love Lane, Mattituck
An array of vegan entrées and sides is available at Love Lane Kitchen, including a salad ($10), Portobello mushroom sandwich with pesto and pine nuts ($12.50) and black bean burger ($14). For breakfast, try the sweet potato hash ($6), which is made with spinach and extra virgin olive oil.
Stirling Sake, 477 Main St., Greenport
Check out this Japanese eatery’s veggie roll ($8), made with cucumber, avocado and rice.
The Market, 44 Front St., Greenport
Head to this health food store and café for a vegan burger ($8.95) made with toasted pumpkin and sunflower seeds, brown rice, garlic and lentils. The Market also offers tofu salad and roasted vegetable wraps. Need to satiate a sweet tooth? Order a slice of the rich vegan chocolate cake ($5.50), which is made with distilled vinegar and canola oil instead of eggs.
Did we miss your restaurant’s vegan offerings? Email Rachel Young at firstname.lastname@example.org.