And what is "nixed" here is meat. But this newbie's chefs cook in such a happily indulgent fashion, even the carnivores leave satisfied. That may because Nix has one menu for the vegetarians and another for the hardcore vegans, and the first is awash in milk products, particularly creamy cheeses and actual ream. So a dish of mushroom caccio e pepe with salsify, silky heirloom polenta and lots of melted parmesan, tastes as rich as marrow scooped from a shank; and its roasted beets (with yogurt, pistachio and endive) are roasted overnight in a clay oven, which takes the edge off their beetiness and transforms them into succulent meaty hunks. The dips, too, a favored appetizer, are extravagant, especially the spiced eggplant with pine nuts and the rich red pepper and walnut spread. All of these are served with bread charred in a real tandoori oven (the space belonged to an unsuccessful Indian joint before it went chic vegetarian). And speaking of that space: it’s elegant in its simplicity, with mysterious venetian blinds providing a peekaboo window into the kitchen and lots of sleekly unadorned wood throughout. An excellent addition to an already restaurant-blessed neighborhood.
- Pauline Frommer