The Vegetarian Option: Good in the West Village
89 Greenwich Avenue (at Bank Street; map); (212) 691-8080; goodrestaurantnyc.com.com
Cuisine: Contemporary American
Veggie Options: 1 app, 1 salad, 5 snacks, 2 pastas, several sides, plus specials
Cost: Appetizers are around $10; pastas are $17
If you read our massive roundup of macaroni and cheese in NYC, you probably think that I've had enough mac and cheese to last a lifetime. (And you're probably right.) But after all that macaroni, I still love it. Fancy mac, gooey old-fashioned cafeteria mac, unusual riffs on mac and cheese: add it to your menu and I am there.
Good in the West Village has long been on my radar for their green chile mac and cheese ($17), with its hint of smoky heat, sprinkle of cilantro, and tortilla-crumb crust. Is it the best mac and cheese in New York? No, but it's good. The inside is creamy and exotically green, with just enough spice to demand your attention and encourage another bite. The elbow noodles are silky but not mushy. That topping, though, is the weak link: the tortilla chips crushed on top of the bowl seemed a bit stale (or purposely hardened in the oven.) And $17 is a lot--even for a cauldron of really rich mac. Save half of it for your lunch the next day and the proposition makes a bit more sense.
But spicy mac isn't the only reason to swing by Good. And the vegetarian options are good enough for everyone to share.
Find a seat at one of the sidewalk tables and order a pitcher of seasonal sangria ($36). The version we tried was a fresh and light-tasting chardonnay filled with cubes of honeydew, kiwi, and green grapes; just what we craved on a humid night. The chickpea spread ($8) is creamy and nutty, with a hint of citrus, and served with green olives and slabs of ricotta salata. Unfortunately, the toasts that they provide for dunking are so crispy that you risk chipping a tooth--stick with the other options in the bread basket.
The baked goat cheese & tomato cazuela ($10) is simple but tasty: a cone of creamy goat cheese surrounded by sweet roasted tomato sauce makes for an excellent spread (though you can be forgiven for just attacking that cheese with your spoon.)
You could skip all of it, though, and just snack on a few rounds of the addictive cheddar-corn hush puppies ($9), crispy on the outside, moist and hot on the inside with a hint of chile and nubbins of fresh corn. We liked the honey dipping sauce and found that a squeeze of lime brightened the whole thing up nicely. "Would you hate me," asked my dining companion, "if I ate the last one?" Luckily, I was too full to mind.
You're not going to find a cheap dinner at Good--snazzy comfort food in the West Village comes at a price--but the food is tasty and fun, with a nice spread of options for those of us seeking out a meatless meal.