Manhattan – East Village
71 First Ave between 4th and 5th Sts
Manhattan, NY 10003
Once you get past the lime green accents, plastic chairs and steam room–style white tiling, Pukk has a seriousness that belies its silly looks. It's heaven for vegans and vegetarians, featuring creative Thai food prepared with delicacy at supercheap prices. Spice, SEA and SoHo's Peep are sister restaurants. Recommended dishes include mock duck salad with a nice crunch of cashews; golden mushrooms with asparagus, broccoli and panang sauce; and green rice crepes with soy chicken, radish, peanuts and basil-mint marinara.