Restaurant Review - P.S. Kitchen, NYC
Updated: Sep 13, 2018
After bar hopping around the city with my best friends, I found myself a bit peckish. Okay, I'm always hungry and I love nothing more than eating at restaurants. Plus, I'm a restaurant owner, so it's research, right?? Whatever. I don't have to make excuses. Hahaha
So, I wanted to eat again and I was near a vegan place called, "P.S. Kitchen." It was the only place within walking distance that was still open, so Robert, James, and I decided to walk over and give it a shot. The pictures online showed one table and I assumed that it would be a tiny place. It was situated closer to Times Square than I prefer, but the little storefront actually opened to a pretty large establishment with excellent pink lighting and modern decor. The bathrooms were practically larger than my hotel room, and it's hard to find a bathroom larger than a shoebox in the city! We sat at a white table near the bar. Our server was a very handsome young man (I would assume a male model or actor, or both) and that's good because he was a terrible server. He wasn't mean or anything. He just forgot to ask for our drink orders, never asked us how the food was, and didn't even bring the bill. Bless his heart.
We started with a round of Gorilla Milk which is a vegan non-alcoholic drink with coconut cream, pineapple juice, lime juice, and toasted coconut. It tasted like a liquid lemon icebox pie (Recipe at the end). It's probably one of the most delicious things that I have ever put in my mouth, and that's good because it was $10/drink. That's more expensive than some of their alcoholic drinks. However, the flavor is absolutely insane and if I went back tomorrow, I would order another one at the hefty price of $2/ounce. You have to at least try one if you come here!
Robert is not even a little bit vegan and James suggested that he try the Beyond burger. Veggie burgers are always an easy transition for non-vegans. We used to sell Beyond burgers at my restaurant, Copper Vault. They are not my most favorite burgers, but they are extremely popular and very realistic. I agreed that Rob should try one.
Of course, after taking a peek at the menu, I felt that I had to order a few items because there were so many incredible options that I have never seen anywhere! Again, research, people! I saw "bao" on the menu and it made me think of my husband, chefing away back in Tennessee. Ian loves charsuibao, and I missed him, so I ordered the Maitake Steam Bao. This name didn't exactly make sense to me and it still doesn't. Shouldn't it read Steamed Maitake Bao? Or just Maitake Bao, since bao is traditionally steamed anyways? I'm sure the chef knows more than me. I'm just letting you know how I feel. I had heard of Maitake mushrooms, but never actually eaten them (In hindsight, I learned that Maitake is just another word for "hen f the woods" mushrooms, which we already serve at my restaurant). These mushrooms are supposed to be a pretty realistic substitute for chicken. In videos, the consistency is uncanny.
The Maitake Bao (the two white lumps on the plate) were $15. It is New York and the restaurant's overhead has to be high considering it's location, but bao is insanely cheap to make. Add two pieces of mushroom and pickled ginger, the cost out is still less than a dollar for the entire plate. I don't want to complain about the price because the flavor was so insanely amazing, but I think that adding just one more to the plate would make the customer feel like they were getting more. Alternatively, lowing the price to $12 would feel more reasonable. Let's focus on the positive, though. The bao was soft, sweet, and perfectly flavored. The maitake mushrooms did not disappoint. The mushroom's consistency was very realistic but even more important, the breading was perfect. It was also covered in a sauce that tasted like a mix of hoison, yuzu, maybe a touch of pineapple? I don't know. My husband is the saucier, but it was delectable! I could have eaten 12 of these bad boys. Even with the high price, these are absolutely a must-try for any vegan!
After trying the bao, I knew that we had to order the Buffalo Maitake Wings ($15)! I had already ordered like three other things at this point, but I knew that the wings wouldn't let me down.
All three of us agreed that these tasted like boneless chicken wings. It's official! I am ordering maitake mushrooms for my restaurant (again, I am an idiot and we already have them. However, now I am going to fry them and make them into wings!). If you like/liked chicken wings, these are a must-have. On a side note, the homemade blue cheese sauce was really good, but it did not taste anything like blue cheese.
Robert ordered the P.S. Burger ($20) made with Beyond Meat and we all had a bite. It is topped with "queso" and "thousand island" as well as lettuce, onion, and tomato. Mentally, those sauces don't make any sense to me, but holy moly were they delicious! This is probably the best take on a Beyond Meat burger that I have ever had. The fries that came with the burger tasted kind of hollow and stale. Now that I think about it, I am wondering if the were air-fryed instead of deep fried. If so, that would be great because they would be much healthier. If not, they were just sub-par french fries. Haha But if you are a vegan who eats out often, you've probably had your fair share of french fries... like at every restaurant with no vegan options other than fries!
I wanted to try the Orzo Alfredo ($23). It is orzo with a creamy broccoli puree and sun-dried tomatoes. It would definitely satisfy any craving for creamy Italian comfort food. I do think that it could have used a touch of something else. James suggested some freshly cracked black pepper, but as I think back on it now, even just some fresh herbs and more tomatoes would have offset some of the richness. Don't get me wrong. It was very delicious. I just personally think it needed something to brighten the flavors, just a touch.
At the end of the menu, there is a lovely little, "P.S. We're plant-based."
Below that is, "P.S. All profits are donated to charity."
This is nice because it will undoubtedly trick non-vegans into trying plant-based food. It is confusing to vegans because you have the option to add chicken to your caesar salad. Not vegan chicken, or chicken in parentheses, or cleverly misspelled chikn, just chicken. However, it's nice to not see a menu covered in vegan descriptions. In the future, hopefully all restaurants will just be plant-based and not have to explain what they mean.
Obviously, the fact that they donate all profits is absolutely incredible! I still think that the prices are too high, though. Vegetables are not expensive. I own a farm to table restaurant and yes, vegan meat substitutions can be expensive if you don't make them in-house, but even the fanciest vegetables are not expensive enough to warrant these prices. As a restaurant owner, I understand profit margins. Donating all profits means that after every bill is paid, including employees, the remaining money will go to charity. This is extremely admirable. I just don't see how the costs add up, though. On average, food cost is 30% in a restaurant, but with these prices, it must be closer to 10%. The restaurant could still donate plenty of money to charities and lower their prices. I mean, I know I'm harping on this, but I am a vegan activist who is constantly cutting my profits to try to get more non-vegans to give it a go, and it frustrates me to see healthy food be so expensive when everyone's goal should be making vegan food accessible to all people! Being so close to Times Square gives them an even greater advantage to reaching out to people who have probably never even heard of a vegan before. Shouldn't we be doing everything in our power to make vegan food beautiful, delicious, and attainable for the masses? Alternatively, tf the restaurant wants to have more elevated cuisine (like Crossroads in Los Angeles) that would warrant a higher price, I think that's fine too! But let's be honest, orzo with broccoli sauce ($24) is not exactly ground-breaking, and the plating was on par with Olive Garden. Throw me a garnish here, people!
I can't end on a negative note because obviously, I've hit a nerve with myself that has nothing to do with the quality of food! (Get over it, Whitney! Not everyone is trying to turn the world vegan!) Eat here at least once. It is pricey, but it is wonderful.
Have you been here before? Tell me your thoughts! Am I being too judgy ?
** Recipe for Gorilla Milk
1 can of coconut milk (you want canned because it has the coconut cream on top)
2 cups Pineapple juice
Shake the can of coconut milk to mix the coconut cream and milk together. Then, mix the coconut milk and pineapple juice together. Add a squeeze of lime, and serve over ice. Garnish with toasted coconut! There. I just saved you $10 per drink!
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