Hours: M-SAT: 11:30a-10:30p; SUN: 11:30a-10p
Food Type: Vegetarian and Vegan
Overall Rating: 2.5 / 5.0 karats
Otarian brings much needed vegetarian/vegan fare to Hell’s Kitchen, where it is sorely lacking. Otarian has one other location in NYC (
Now the food. I’ve been here twice and tried two items on the menu: the Tex Mex Burger and the Tandoori Mushroom O Paneer Wrap. The Tex Mex Burger is decent I would say. It is a large and filling burger comprised of a veggy patty, poppy seed bun, guacamole, salsa, bbq sauce, cheese and lettuce. The patty tasted reasonably fresh and didn’t taste like the frozen type to me.
The Tandoori Mushroom O Paneer wrap was another story. I asked several questions about the wrap before ordering it and finally decided to try it. I thought she would put the order into the computer and instantly the guy in the back would start preparing it. Instead she put the order in and opened some drawer and pulled out a prepackaged wrap in paper wrapping and dropped it on my tray. I’m sorry but I really expect the items at a place like Otarian to be freshly made when ordered (not in the morning or whenever it was made) and that is not too much to ask. The wrap came with a little cup of cucumber yogurt dip on the side. Now the taste – The wrap tasted very manufactured or processed even though Otarian claims to only use natural ingredients. It also was not “Hot and Spicy” as they advertise it to be. Finally, I would say that the mushrooms and paneer (Indian curded cheese) are not the best pairing as they don’t seem to taste well together with whatever curry sauce they were coated with.
I usually don’t comment on the beverages at VeggyFoody. After all we’re all about the food, but the beverage selection is seriously lacking at Otarian. They only have a fountain soda machine with Coke, Diet Coke, etc. that you would find at McDonalds or Burger King. I would definitely not expect Otarian to serve normal soft drinks laden with corn syrup and whatever else. What happened to natural and unprocessed when it comes to the beverages. Otarian strays far from its mission here. Also, they don’t have alternative options like natural fruit juice or natural soda with cane sugar that you would expect at a place like this. While drinks don’t usually factor very highly into the score, I have to say that the fountain soda strays really far from everything you would expect from this place and it is a big detractor.
Otarian does get high marks for ambiance (see pic below). The restaurant is open and airy with a lot of natural sunlight, partly due to its corner location with windows on two of the sides. The seating and décor is modern and colorful and the extra effort put into the interior design is definitely appreciated while dining in. The only detractor is the large screen TV on the wall which runs info on the earth and our carbon impact. Not that those aren’t important topics, but I’d rather read about it in a brochure.
For a grab and go spot, Otarian’s prices for their burgers and wraps are in line with other similar grab and go spots. The burgers are about $8 while the wraps are $7.25 which seems in line for a place like this, but their other items like deserts and soups seem a bit on the high side. Their combo meals also seem a bit pricey ranging from $11.50 to $14.50.
There are a lot of items on the menu at Otarian and I haven’t tried them all so I will revisit the place and the rating at some point, but for now, Otarian doesn’t get high marks because the most important determinant of the karat rating here at VeggyFoody is the food – the taste, the quality and the freshness and I can’t say that Otarian scores really high here.