Nutmeat Napa Sandwich at Bonobo's


It's easy to miss Bonobo's Vegetarian, what with the perpetual scaffolding masking it, and the hot and carnal temptations of Eataly and Shake Shack across the street. But this raw restaurant is perfect after a workout... or after an overindulgent weekend at places like Eataly and Shake Shack.  

The Nutmeat Napa Sandwich includes your pick of nutmeats and veggies, neatly patted into half-shells of Napa cabbage of exemplary crispness. I went crazy and requested all of the nutmeats available that day -- Mediterranean, Sunflower Dill, Sesame Tahini, Pumpkin Poppy, and Curry Sunflower – which were then given a one-minute mix and mash with raw cauliflower, beets, red bell pepper, zucchini, and olives.

The sandwich mixture has the unctuousness of a pate, the creaminess of an egg salad, and the distinctive crunch/nut duet of celery and peanut butter. But what this reminded me of most is the truest essence of a falafel sandwich: nuttiness, crunch, spice, and silk. The Napa cabbage "bread" is a little flimsy towards the ends of the leaves, so the nutmeat tends to plop onto the salad, where your dressing is conveniently waiting. 

 Bonobo's Vegetarian 18 East 23rd Street, New York, NY 10010 (map) 212-505-1200 //