Vegetarian’s Paradise 2 is in a prime spot on West 4th Street in Manhattan, a high-traffic area situated close to the subway, as well as many bars, cafes, theaters, shops and other restaurants. This downtown restaurant is frequented mostly by couples and friends in their 20s and 30s, along with NYU students. It offers a friendly, yet sophisticated, atmosphere that is inviting, youthful, and not stuffy. VP2 is a popular spot in the Greenwich Village area, and is quite reasonably priced for a sit-down place.
To start off with the appetizer options, there are the Collard Green Rolls. The outside of these rolls tastes and appears like Thai or Vietnamese Spring Rolls, while the inside represents Southern cooking, being stuffed to the brim with collard greens and small pieces of mock pork. The side of sweet chili sauce for dipping consequently affirms the Asian-fusion inspiration. These Collard Green Rolls are crisp on the outside and dry on the inside, making them quite intact and not soggy. The Korean Soft Tofu Soup, also known as sundubu jjigae, is presented in its traditional Korean black pot that it is cooked into, where the diner is able to get a full whiff of Gochujang (Korean red-pepper paste). It is relieving to finally find a vegetarian version of this soup, which is most often prepared using meat broth. Minus the egg, little clams and sides of rice, pickled radish and kimchi, this vegetarian version of Korean hot tofu soup is still spicy and satisfying. It is not as acidic-tasting as the traditional one, and contains more mushrooms.
As far as the options go for the main course, a diner can try a typical American-Chinese cuisine with half the grease, by ordering the Vegetarian Kung Pao Chicken. This large meal comes with chopped bell peppers, zucchini and celery not over-saturated in sauce, and many peanuts are sprinkled on top. The crisp, crunchy vegetables combine a good contrast to the soft, chewy mock chicken. This dish is cooked with dried red chili peppers, so if it gets too spicy, the diner can neutralize it with the side of brown or white rice. As the Kung Pao Chicken at VP2 is a big portion, do not fear if you must wrap it up to finish later, as it tastes quite good cold as well. In the midst of all the Asian-fusion creations, the Montego Sandwich is an appropriate option if you just want something simple and American. When it’s presented, it looks like a typical diner sandwich or hero. This mock-chicken cutlet is prepared on white bread, with shredded carrots and onions and a creamy-tasting light sauce. As it is a hefty sandwich, they do offer a side salad, rather than French fries, if you’ve already indulged in an appetizer.
Away from all of the unhealthy bar-food options, expensive restaurants and quick, cheap eats, Vegetarian’s Paradise 2 compliments its Greenwich Village surroundings. It leaves diners quite full before or after their ongoing days or nights to continue shopping, drinking or strolling, or head off to a local performance, movie or comedy show.