Restaurant Name: 'sNice
Cuisine: Coffeeshops, Desserts & Bakeries, Vegetarian/Vegan
Neighborhood: West Village
Address: 45 8th Ave, New York 10014
At W 4th St
Pricing: Moderately Inexpensive
This wonderful little coffeeshop/restaurant is my new favorite place in the City. The interior is cozy, with exposed brick and beam, inviting you to sit and stay awhile. Whether you pick a small table for two or four, or if you decide to sit at one of the communal tables and make new friends, you'll feel right at home here. The staff is friendly, there are books and board games on hand, and best of all, there's free wireless internet.
The first thing I noticed when I walked into 'sNice for the first time was how friendly the staff is. The people behind the counter are sweet and efficient (note to self: find out their names!), and so are the servers, who joke with the customers, offer suggestions, and are generally just very pleasant. Last time I was there, the guy behind the counter told me he liked my T-shirt in an entirely non-creepy way, for which he gets major points.
The menu is 100% vegetarian, and more than half of the offerings are vegan, but even habitual meat-eaters can enjoy the fresh, delicious sandwiches. This past Friday, gingergold and I split the brie, pear, and arugula with raspberry mustard, and the roasted vegetable panini with arugula and goat cheese. The latter, grilled to perfection with zucchini and red peppers, tasted like the healthiest thing I'd eaten in a while -- college living isn't exactly conducive to eating well. The raspberry mustard on the brie sandwich is spicy-sweet and delicious, and offset the juicy pear slices very nicely. All the sandwiches on the menu are a very reasonable $7, and come with a side of mixed greens dressed with a tasty balsamic vinaigrette.
The baked goods are amazing here, particularly the carrotcake muffin with buttercream frosting. Seriously, hands down, my biggest dessert craving of the moment. The chocolate cupcakes are so rich and delicious, it's a wonder that they're vegan. They're also cheap -- under two dollars, if I remember correctly ('sNice only takes cash, so you don't usually get a receipt). edward_vii and gingergold can back me up on the extreme deliciousness of the muffins and the cupcakes.
My favorite drink at 'sNice is the chai latte ($3). I like it with soy milk, but you can also order it with regular or skim milk. The iced coffee ($2) is also very good. I really like that they offer SweetLeaf Stevia as a sweetener. It tastes strange on its own, but who eats sweetener plain, anyway? It also has a slight tendency to clump, especially in cold drinks, but when mixed well, I think it tastes better than Splenda, and I happen to like Splenda just fine. Next time I'm there, I think I'm going to have to try one of their milk-less shakes (made with soy), because they look fabulous.
Bottom line: I have a massive crush on the entire establishment, and I think you'll like it too. If you live downtown, you have absolutely no excuse not to check it out -- I routinely make the trip down from Morningside Heights on the weekend -- so make it a point to stop by sometime soon.