NYC Metro Area Vegan Restaurant Guide
Not Vegetarian (decent vegan options)
$$$$$ (Average entree cost: $20+)
- Visa ·
- Mastercard ·
- American Express
Monday - Saturday
Lunch 11:45am - 13:45pm L.O.
Sunday, second week of Monday & third week of Saturday closed
Dinner 17:30pm - 22:00pm
btw Park and Lexington
Kajitsu does not deliver.
Used to be all-vegan Shojin, but now serves fish.
Prix-fixe menus change monthly.
(Formerly located in the East Village. Moved in 2013.)
Review by champurrado on September 2, 2009:
- Kajitsu is completely amazing. I was skeptical in looking the menu (since I'm not always the biggest fan of Japanese food), but this is the kind of place that you can go and know that whatever they serve you will be incredible. These people seriously know what they're doing. Every dish looks like a work of art and the flavor combinations make your tastebuds do backflips.
They have a fixed menu that changes every month. You can either choose the 4- or 8-course menu, but I would definitely recommend the 8 since it's only $20 more and such a fuller experience. Everything is done with so much care and the server explains every part of each dish (our server also encouraged us to try multiple sakes before choosing one so we would be sure to like it).
If you do the 8 course menu, you should plan to be there about 2 hrs. If you want a table, be sure to make a reservation in advance or you may have to sit at the counter (which we didn't mind since we got to watch them intricately prepare the dishes).
They also have cool handmade dishware, some hundreds of years old, that they repair rather than replace.
It's on the expensive side, but worth it. I really hope people (esp. vegans) support this place so that it stays in NYC for a long time.
Review by jjmfp on August 30, 2009:
- As a long time vegan who travels for a living, I make it a point to go to vegan as well as haute cuisine restaurants all around the world, no matter the cuisine or cost. This includes an experience at an authentic vegan shojin restaurant in a Zen Buddhist monastery in Kyoto.
Having spent most of my time in New York I've frequented practically every vegan / veggie restaurant in New York City including Candle 79, Hangawi, Counter, Dirt Candy, Pure Food and Wine, etc. I make it a point to also dine at high end restaurants that accommodate vegans including Per Se, Nobu, Craft, Charlie Trotter's and Alinea (in Chicago).
I've been to Kajitsu three times in as many months and have had the pleasure of experiencing their last three menus which change monthly to feature seasonal elements. Kajitsu combines high-end dining with truly unique authentic ethnic cuisine. The dining experience is exquisite with impressively informed and passionate servers and a tranquil and thoughtfully designed setting (including many antique place settings and furniture). It's worth noting that, as the Kajitsu website indicates, shojin cuisine is considered the foundation of all Japanese cuisine, including kaiseki (which is derived from shojin), and has always been a vegan cuisine.
The menu, as pointed out by other reviews, is prix fixe at a $50 or $70 level and I've always gotten the 8 course meal as it really is the better deal and experience. Neither I, or the more than 20 people (vegan, veg, and none) that have accompanied me, have ever left less than satisfied or hungry.
The sake selections are great and the seasonal frozen sake is a treat in the summer months (the spoon that it's served with has a 1000 year old glass bead hanging from it!) The Nama Fu (something I've never had before in the US) comes from a multi-generational owned family shop in Japan and is a wonderful replacement for the typical seitan / tofu / tempeh ingredients.
At this price range it's certainly a special occasion destination and definitely worth visiting each month to explore the new menu. Every dish is impeccably executed with flawless technique, masterful flavor pairing, and inspiring presentation. Each plate was a joy!
I look forward to our new monthly tradition of visiting Kajitsu.
(for pictures and a thorough review of my first visit to Kajitsu, please visit my partner's posting here)
Review by Shem on August 15, 2009:
- For temple food from Japan, it is only partially authentic. The absence of tofu in any form is startling. More so, no yuba! Fine Kaga wheat gluten was also absent! The use of flour noodles was obsessive. In summer the colorless noodles might have been appropriate. Elegant presentations but not up to other jap. restaurants attempting kaiseki style. Too much plastic, no real lacquer, little fine pottery or woven reeds.
Review by marie on July 29, 2009:
- What a unique dining experience! Practically celestial. It is pricey, but worth it for a special occasion. Kajitsu offers Japanese Buddhist temple cuisine right here in NYC. Where else could you try gold leaf doused soup? Photos can be seen here: http://candypenny.blogspot.com/2009/07/kajitsu-one-fine-day.html