First Look: Rich Landau’s vegan V Street

The V Street team: Rich Landau, Lily Cope, Lauren Hooks, Jeremy Scullin and  Kate Jacoby. / ©Reese Amorosi 2014 The V Street team: Rich Landau, Lily Cope, Jeremy Scullin, Lauren Hooks and Kate Jacoby. / ©Reese Amorosi 2014

If Fall 2014 had a most anticipated restaurant, V Street at 126 S. 19th — a “street food bar” — would likely be it. The aggressively vegan team behind Midtown’s Vedge, chef Rich Landau and co-owner/pastry chef Kate Jacoby, Landau’s wife, had only dropped hints of V Street’s opening and menu items. However, during a chat at the Culinary Concepts pop-up at Cook, they offered an opening date (Oct. 1), insights into V’s design (minimalist, edgy) and a handsome sampling of items intended for its menu, along with exclusive plans for others.

Both Landau and Jacoby want diners to expect the same quality, sense of adventure, and dedication to vegan ideals at V Street than they get now at Vedge. “At the same time, we want to differentiate each from the other,” says Landau, citing Vedge’s white linen experience vs. V Street’s funkiness.

Along with a lower price point than Vedge — “think gastropub, $10-12 for mains, $7-8 for smaller plates,” says Landau — V Street’s bold, spicy, ethnic flavors and unpredictable items will make the restaurant a wilder experience. “The flavors are going to be out there,” says Landau of the rush that was Choripan, a meaty roasted carrot dish with black lentils and Argentinian chimichurri, Funky Kimchee Stew, and the Eastern European Langosh with creamy sauerkraut dill dip and smoked golden beets.

“We’re all over the map – Hong Kong, Mexico, Israel — but you’ll never see something easy on V Street’s menu,” says Landau. “No simple falafel or taco. We get adrenalized doing something difficult.”

Landau gave us the exclusive on another V Street dish, the pho, with its emphasis on the French occupation of Vietnam in the French dip (baguettes stuffed with mushrooms with pho broth) and the twist on French onion soup, with pho broth and chili crouton. “V Street will always go for something fun and daring,” he says.

V Street's kimchee stew /  ©Reese Amorosi 2014 V Street’s kimchee stew. / ©Reese Amorosi 2014

And for dessert

For the dessert list, Kate Jacoby says to expect “lots of textures, gelato, waffles.”

She doubles as the restaurant’s interior designer.“We’re going for something rock ‘n’ roll, but not trashy, especially considering that the space – built in 1890 – is intimate and charming,” says Jacoby of the 1,000-square-foot space with 45 seats including the bar. To that end, she’s keeping things minimal and focusing on the exterior surfaces – brick, concrete, distressed plaster – and a muted color palate. “The art really happens in V Street’s food,” says Jacoby, “It’s elegant and gritty.”

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