There are earth lovers, and there are sushi lovers, and it's rare the two find common ground.
One large issue is that sushi joints are largely responsible for the overfishing of tuna and other fish stocks. But there is a little place downtown where you might finally relax and enjoy your finely-crafted Japanese cuisine with no guilt.
A favorite of the fashion set, EN Japanese Brasserie has garnered rave reviews from the masses and experts alike--it's Michelin-ranked. Add to that owner Jesse Alexander's penchant for foraging upstate for authentic and strikingly interesting ingredients (burdock, jewelweed, juneberries, mountain mint, Japanese knotweed, and devil’s walking sticks) to serve his closest friends and family, and you have a picture of exclusivity and authenticity. Even for plebeians that can't taste freshly foraged jewelweed, the prospect of fresh, pure tofu made every hour is enough to make a vegetarian's mouth water.
Now the almost-Meatpacking restaurant has added a vegan menu for its most discerning of its patrons. For $65 ($100 with the sake pairing) you can try this seven course tasting menu, called Nohara "Vegan Kaiseki", by Chef Abe Hiroki, which pays tribute to Shojin Ryori, an ancient cuisine steeped in the traditions of Japanese Buddhism.
Looks like I'll be adding this place to my list of restaurants to try!