I had an exceptional experience at Table Verte in East Village Manhattan. The bistro is owned by Chef Didier Pawlicki, whom I had the pleasure of briefly meeting, and the executive chef is a first generation Norwegian American named Ken Larsen. The two have worked together to create a diverse menu featuring an impeccable selection of French vegetarian and vegan dishes. Chef Larsen was kind enough to present the majority of our courses to us and explain the story behind each. He said that Chef Didier will often think up an ingredient to use and ask Ken to create delicious ways to use it. Then the two will work together until they create the perfect dish using a creative combination of different healthy, natural ingredients.
I was thrilled to be able to try more than nine different unique dishes by the two chefs, including three decadent desserts. Some of the dishes I tasted included: Cassoulet Vegetalien (vegan beans stewed with roasted shallots), Choux Fleur Roti (roasted cauliflower with rosemary scented quinoa, roasted yam, sauteed greens with a fig and caper sauce), an incredible dish of brussel sprouts with strawberries, and a beet and lentil dish, among many others. Two of the three desserts included the Tarte au Chocolate vegetalienne (vegan chocolate tart, dark Callebaut chocolate avocado “ganache” with rice, almond and raisin crust), and Aloe Temptation (an exotic dessert using poached aloe vera with saffron and red wine, plated with banana and coconut milk).
With every bite, I could taste Chef Larsen’s attention to detail and his passion for healthy, unique cooking. He generously took the time to talk with us as we finished our desserts about his journey as a chef, becoming a vegetarian and ultimately becoming a vegetarian chef. Before becoming a vegetarian, he worked as a chef at steak houses! Can you believe it? What a transformation! And he’s happy to share about it with anyone. He has such evident passion for creating delicious, healthy, unparalleled food that appeals to everyone. It is an important goal for him to think up and produce food that appeals to vegans, vegetarians, omnivores and carnivores. He explained to us how he wants Table Verte to be approachable for everyone, and for the food to be enjoyable for anyone with any type of palate.
Although the restaurant is small, it is filled with passionate energy, hunger for fine dining, and excellent food.