Dairy-free dining: The Butcher’s Daughter, New York City

If you’re in New York, you have to eat at  The Butcher’s Daughter

Why, you might reasonably ask – after all there are an estimated 25,000 restaurants in New York City. The Butcher’s Daughter warrants a visit because everything – yes, everything – on its menu is dairy free. At this stylish Nolita spot, the milkless options aren’t an afterthought – they’re the whole deal.

The Butcher’s Daughter is a small but airy space, with high ceilings and white-washed exposed brick walls. Downtown fashion types and freelancers jostle for space at the communal table and at the (frankly uncomfortable) industrial swivelly stools in the window seats. The name is tongue-in-cheek as The Butcher’s Daughter is a vegetarian café and restaurant. There are butcher’s hooks dangling from the ceiling, but they’re loaded with hanging baskets stuffed with baskets of apples, leafy carrots and plums.

The Butcher’s Daughter is open all day. I’d love to try the dinner menu, which includes inventive dishes like angel-hair carbonara with cashew ricotta and tacos stuffed with seasoned ground tempeh, avocado crema, shaved radishes and coriander. On our visit though we went for a late breakfast. Brunch is one of my all-time favourite things, but since going dairy-free it’s tricky to find dishes I can eat (pancakes, eggs Benedict, waffles – your average brunch menu is a dairy-heavy zone). At the Butcher’s Daughter I was in heaven.

butchersdaughter

We tried the tartine topped with a homemade dairy-free chocolate spread. It was light, milky and smooth. The bread was chewy and crisp and came with a very fruity fig jam, and a savoury, buttery spread which really tasted like a good approximation of butter (I’m not sure what is was, but it definitely wasn’t a grim margarine). To wash it down I tried both an almond milk latte (okay, not outstanding) and the cacao suave – a pricey ($9) but delicious smoothie that was more like a thick milkshake. It was made with raw cacao powder and studded with cacao nibs, frozen banana (to help create that luscious thickness) almond milk and ‘young Thai coconut’. It came in a large jam jar and was so creamy and filling that if you were one of the off-duty models that frequents The Butcher’s Daughter you’d probably have it as a meal in its own right.

We also tried the breakfast bagel, which was crammed with scrambled egg, cashew cheese (these people are kings of the nut cheese), harissa mayo and some adzuki bean bacon. I’m not sure how I feel about pretend bacon but it’s a testament to how salty and savoury this attempt was that it took my husband several bites before he asked ‘wait, is this real bacon?’ Yes we were in a vegetarian restaurant, but in his defence I drag him to all sorts of strange foodie places, and he hadn’t had his coffee yet.

As well as being entirely vegetarian and dairy-free, The Butcher’s Daughter also prides itself on the fact that many of its dishes are also vegan and gluten-free. None of it feels hair-shirty or drab; this is stylish, flavourful eating which embraces vegetables and nuts and gets seriously creative with them. I wish there was an outpost in London.

The Butcher’s Daughter, 19 Kenmare Street, New York, NY 10012, thebutchersdaughter.com

Images © The Butcher’s Daughter

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