All you need to know about abcV, the new vegetable-driven restaurant in Jean-Georges’ abc empire, is that they make their fresh organic juices with a Juicero machine and charge $15 for one. It serves overpriced vegetarian meals packaged as some sort of revolutionary “cultural shift towards plant based intelligence” (this is from their website) but really, like the Juicero machine, you’re paying mostly for the pretty packaging.
Of all the things that we tried, I can honestly say that I really legitimately liked only one of them, and that happened to be the wok fried ramen noodle. The noodles were nicely coated in seasonings and oils in the manner of tasty yaki soba noodles but without the heaviness that follows. I would order these again, although I wish more noodles were on the plate.
In general, portions are very small for the price you pay. The green chickpea hummus came with a side of a meager pita that was even more downsized when it was cut in fourths. For $15 I would at least want my single pita to be normally sized. But I guess I’m paying for some behind-the-scenes abc vegetable health magic that I’m not appreciating, or maybe I’m paying for the Juicero machine. And no, the hummus was not that amazing, I’d much prefer the one at Dizengoff at Chelsea Market. The pine nut and harissa was a better dip, but again, I’d have to deduct points for the small size and the tiny pita that came with it as well.
We did anticipate that the vegetable dishes might leave us feeling hungry, so we asked our server to point out the more substantive entrees. She recommended the warm crimini and chanterelle mushrooms, which I guess were more substantive compared to chickpeas, but it’s all relative. We had similar expectations from the fried wild rice, which I thought would be somewhat close to the goodness that is Chinese fried rice, but that wasn’t the case at all.
So if a meal at abcV is in the cards, know what you’re getting into. The surroundings are attractive, and you’ll rub elbow with celebrities like Lucy Liu and Tilda Swindon, but you’ll pay a pretty penny for it. Those dollars are going towards the Juicero machines. And the food isn’t good enough or big enough to make you feel like you’re getting the most bang for your buck.
38 E. 19th St (between Broadway and Park Ave S)
New York, NY 10003