Mulberry & Vine: The Whole Menu

73 Warren Street between West Broadway and Greenwich Streets
under $15 for lunch
♥ ♥

I walked by this new spot in TriBeCa the other day and I had to stop and peek in because it looked like a cute IKEA cafeteria inside (in that yellow chair/wooden table kind of way). I’ve been working in the neighborhood for almost 3 years now and my lunch options are dwindling. If I’m not packing my own food, I almost always feel bored about the choices around me: the Whole Foods buffet that always seem to cost so much, the Halal cart right outside the Chase bank, Chipotle, or if I’m inclined to eat Vietnamese food, Nicky’s right off Fulton Street.

Mulberry & Vine is spacious and airy inside. The space’s cleanliness makes you immediately think that the food will be light and healthy. Some may think it’s a little too sparse which could translate to an impression that the food will be bland, but displaying everything in colorful enamel bakeware make it somewhat homey.

Prices vary but are comparable to the neighborhood’s: $13 for 3 dishes (1 hot, 2 cold), $12 for 3 cold dishes, $3 to $4 for soups and other sides, and a dollar here and there for extras (a bed of lettuce or arugula, a small container of green sauce, etc.)

Fourth visit, May 30, 2013
3 cold
– Farro salad – This was so much better today; the eggplant was not as tough as the last time
– Beets – The pomegranates were a nice touch and texture addition
– Roasted vegetables – Excellent and a little bit tangy because of the pickled cucumbers and onions, this actually made my day!

Third visit, May 21, 2013
1 hot, 3 cold
– Turkey meatballs – Tasty, but could use some texture. The finely grounded meat looked fake to me
– Soba noodles – Good and simple
– Farro and eggplant salad – I really liked this except for the tough eggplant skin
– Kale salad – I think it would have helped if the kale was shredded in smaller pieces so that it didn’t feel like you were eating big pieces of raw kale

Second visit, May 10, 2013
1 hot, 1 soup
– Chicken enchilada – Tasted more like a lasagna with white meat
– Lemon cardamom rice – Sounded promising but was a little too thin for me; needed some oomph

First visit: May 3, 2013
1 hot, 2 cold dishes
– Roasted cauliflower – Simple and clean; just like how you would make it at home, but it came with a so-called “green Sriracha” which tasted just like cilantro pesto.
– Curried freekeh with mango – The Arabic bulgur, this curried freekeh tasted healthy with the mango chunks.
– Spanish spice-rub roasted chicken – Although it was under the list of warm dishes, this was a little too cold for my taste. If it’s not cooked Hainanese style, cold chicken just tastes undercooked. I didn’t check what makes a rub “Spanish” but there was definitely paprika all over.

* And when I write “the whole menu”, I mean just about the whole menu. The menu changes according to the season’s ingredients and I will start writing about it this Spring 2013.

Final update: Mulberry & Vine is a great lunch option in the World Trade Center/TriBeCa area and is a better alternative to the salad bar at Whole Foods for the same price range. The food is good and is always fresh. It proves that presentation helps a lot, as well as a clean and airy space. I do find myself wanting a snack by mid-afternoon, but that’s just because I mostly chose their no-meat options. Watch out for your lunch budget as spending $15 on lunch everyday is not sustainable for me.