CLOSED: Zen Palate - Theatre District

  • Vegetarian Vegetarian
    ( 17 reviews )



663 9th Ave (at 46 th St, Theatre District, midtown Manhattan), New York City, New York, USA, 10036

Manhattan vegetarian food restaurant with a few locations. Offers Asian fusion cuisine. Food, drinks, and desserts. All vegan except for the soy ham which contains whey. Reported closed to HappyCow, Oct 2014.

Category: Vegan-friendly, Chinese, Japanese, Delivery, Take-out, Asian, Fusion

Reviews (17)

First Review by kindlizard

Downhill Trajectory - Edit

I lasted ate at this location 3 years ago until I tried it again yesterday. This place has lost its touch. My first trip to NYC was about 14 years ago. I dined at another ZP location and thought it was incredible.
I'm not sure what the owners are thinking, but they've let this location become degraded. It doesn't appear clean, it needs to be painted, cloth seats are dirty, bathroom is untidy, etc. they used to have a second dining room which is visible when you use the bathroom. It's now storage filled with junk. Also, there is no more outdoor seating. I ordered a seitan dish and the seitan pieces were incredibly soft and doughy. I had an order of autum spring rolls, too. They had little flavor and my sauce had gnats in it.
It's not too late to turn this place around. But it needs serious attention and more attention to details to make it. I will not come to ZP because it does not seem that the owners care about quality veg cuisine and a quality environment.

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Service With A Scowl! - Edit

Efficient service in a military manner by a gentleman who obviously is making a mistake by being in the device trade. Food selection is outstanding and much healthier (read: less deep frying madness) than the average chinese-vegan joints but would only come here again out of convenience given so many great choices in NYC. Pricey!

Pros: Shepards Pie, Selection, Location

Cons: Scowl, Price

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consistent vege experience - Edit

This place has been there, it seems, forever. A fine dining experience if you're in the neighborhood.

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bloated - Edit

salty Asian tofu and mock meat make up a lot of the menu. I expected that, but tried it anyway. Got the wonton soup which was OK then tried a dish made of "soy crepes" which would be better described ad tofu skin. They were on a bed of shredded cabbage with carrots, snow peas, and white button mushrooms. The taro spring tolls were good (not toooo greasy) and the rice was good (mix of brown and red), but the sauce that drenched the main dish was really salty and what I would call nondescript Chinese brown sauce. I ate the veggies bc i was hungry, but left half the tofu on the plate and could feel my body swelling as I walked back to my hotel. There are many delicious veg-friendly restaurants in this part of town, with much healthier whole foods on the menu. Unless you are craving salty fast Chinese food, go somewhere else.

Side Note: I noticed that the restaurant wasn't displaying its Dept of Health Letter Grade sign.

Pros: fast, cheap, easy

Cons: salty, mock meat, ambiance

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Tasty journey - Edit

I will never forget the meal I had at Zen palate while on a trip in the big city.
Not only service is great but also food is amazingly tasty!
Even the french fries were not greasy which is rare when eating vegan french fries.
I do recommend the tofu cheesecake (below) and the nature's oasis salad which was very fresh and served with soy cheese, marinated tofu, baby greens, enoki mushrooms and a delicious balsamic/ginger soy dressing.
Also, the card is endless so you will always find something to satisfy your appetite!

From my blog:

Pros: Variety of choices, tasty, friendly staff

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Friendly service, nice environment - Edit

On our recent visit to New York we stayed near the Theatre District and ended up eating here twice. We loved the spring rolls!! I was also crazy for the eggplant dish I ordered...twice. My only complaint was that I was trying to avoid processed soy, and there is a lot of mock meats on the menu. But everything was delicious :)

Pros: Fast & friendly

Cons: Too many mock meats

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Loved it - Edit

I won't lie, this one was one of the best vegetarian places I've tried.

The outside looked kinda shady (the lights of some letters weren't working, it seemed empty too), I wasn't even sure if it was open, but I was brave and went inside anyway. What can I say, after a disappointing experience in "Cafe Blossom" when trying to find vegetarian places in NYC, the food here was really really good!
After one bite, I was like "now THAT'S what I'm talking about!"

Also, much cheaper than Cafe Blossom.

Try it out, you won't regret it.

Pros: Asian cuisine, Delicious, well prepared dishes, Cheaper than some others

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Great food, great prices - Edit

While we were in New York, my husband and I ate at Zen Palate twice--which is saying something since we were only there for four days. They have seriously delicious, cheap Asian (and some fusion) vegetarian food. Only two items on their menu weren't vegan. Everything we ate there was great and the staff was fantastic. Oh, and I am in love with the fact that they serve a mix of brown and red rice with their dishes. Score!

Pros: Great food, Great prices, Great staff

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Zen Palate - Edit

Address. 2170 Broadway, New York City, NY 10024. Tel: (212) 501-7768
This restaurant is a vegetarian's heaven. All of the menu items are vegetarian. (I believe many are also vegan.) Our server indicated that the restaurant also offers gluten-free entrees. The three main dishes and the items on the appetizer platter were well-seasoned and extremely flavorful. I would definitely go out of my way to eat at this restaurant and it is on my bucket list for the next time I am in the City.

Pros: An all vegetarian restaurant, Excellent food, Attentive servers

Cons: no store in my home town

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Food was great - Edit

Was very impressed with the food at Zen Palate! It was simply delicious. My omni friends were very pleased too.

Pros: Great food, Good price, Good location

Cons: Not sure if it's 100% vegan?

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Unhappy Cow - Edit

It had been years since we were last at Zen Palate and we wanted to eat there again yesterday. We arrived at the restaurant salivating at the thought of eating really wonderful vegan food and were shocked that we had stumbled into what looked like an aging Chinese take-out joint. It looked like they'd cut the old space in half; the lighting was suddenly too bright; the cheap decor was falling apart; and the menu was no longer strictly vegan.

Our memories of the place were of a wonderful atmosphere, great food, good service, unique fixtures. Now, it's a dump, the wait-staff are clueless, and the food isn't that good. The Autumn Rolls were soggy. The Wonton Soup was OK. My wife had the Celestial Tofu and I had the Wheel of Dharma. Both tasted pretty good, but they didn't knock it out of the park liked they used to and the food came out suspiciously fast, like it was all pre-made or something. We'll never go back.

Pros: OK food

Cons: Non vegan menu, Shoddy decor, Clueless waiters

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Disappointed - Edit

I had been here two years earlier and was disappointed to learn as a vegan that the good majority of dinner entrees had dairy in it. I also asked the ingredients of the veggie burger, no one knew. Hmmm... i was trying to determine if it had gluten in it. It was good, but I think it was originally frozen. By the way, we received our meal in minutes, truly a few minutes as did all of the nearby tables, fast is nice sometimes, but it was almost eerie. how could food that is healthy be made that quickly?

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Reviewer Avatar

What a bummer - Edit

This place used to be the first restaurant I'd go to on a trip to Manhattan. I'd have given it a 5, easily. When we went last night, we were very disappointed to discover that not only had the overall ambiance changed, but so had the food. They were out of many standards, leaving me to wonder if their menu is continuing to change to more mainstream food. The curry that my hubby had was very lackluster - no spice, no sauce, just bland. My mushroom tempura was good, but the accompanying sweet potato puree was overly copious and just too mushy.
On doing some research, i found that a former money manager has bought the chain. Not only did they lose their lease on their splendid Union Square location, now the new owner wants to compete with the fast food giants with his newest chain, Zen Burger. While veggie options are a very important and welcome solution to many many issues, i wonder if this is pointing to a change in philosophy where big business dealings are more important than quality, vegetarian food with integrity,
I am so bummed.....

Pros: Decent veggie food

Cons: It USED to be so good, Why has their quality gone down?

1 Response

kindlizard 19 Sep 2008 - I agree. Not only w this place, but when many places try to branch out, they often take their focus off the ball and quality suffers. There are no distinct flavors here, nor does it seem that anything is made freshly.  

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Less than "Zentastic" - Edit

The good news is Zen Palate is extremely convenient because it is the most easily accessible vegetarian restaurant for theatre-goers, because the service is fairly quick and because most entrees include rice and taro rolls. The bad news is that Zen Palate's food is generally common tasting, average, lacking authenticity, and slightly overpriced. I feel that the menu and the kitchen also sacrifice authenticity to be trendier and have more of a fusion type style (for example the "Tex-Mex Mooshoo). This is fine if it does not come at the expense of flavor. Sadly the loss of authenticity though, makes alot of the food less flavorful and more commonplace than it should be. On my last trip there the shredded heaven was bland, the sweet and sour sensation had a weird texture and was too sweet for human consumption, and the eggplant zentastic was mushy and unexceptional at best. Overall, i think the best entree is the sesame medallions. If you're going to a broadway show and you need a convenient decent vege meal this place is for you, but otherwise i would not go out of my way to eat here.

Pros: Convenient

Cons: Unauthentic and average, Cramped restaurant feel, Slightly overpriced

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Great Restaurant - Edit

I really enjoyed the food here. The sauce on the sweet and sour sensation was delicious, but I didn't really like the texture of the soy protein. The taro spring rolls that came with the dish were delicious. My boyfriend had some sort of a mushroom burger or soy burger and it was amaaaazing. The fries that came with it were good too. I liked his burger more than my meal. Everything was good, though. :)

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Fast friendly service, great food - Edit

We loved Zen Palate on 9th Ave. I got the sweet and sour sensation and fell in love. So perfect. Their Banana Bliss pie was outstanding! Their Key Lime Pie was outstanding! Their cafe is somewhat small, but there is a separate fine dining area that is bigger (and with prices to match!). The first time we went there our food came literally 3 minutes after we ordered it. Couldn't believe it. The next time we went it was packed in the dining room but we still got our food within 8 minutes. I don't know how they do it. Very attentive wait staff. Go for the food and dessert. Sit in the cafe though, avoid the dining room.

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No mas - Edit

We ordered from here a few times since it was the only veg delivery I knew of. One menu had everything vegan, the next had asterisks to denote egg or dairy etc. Not cool. I ate there before thinking it was all vegan (like most veg Chinese places are). Anyway, on top of that, the food was kind of gross. No flavor, odd texture, and it did NOT sit well. Never again.

Pros: delivery

Cons: lied about vegan status, taste terrible, never is a hit

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