Chelsea Market is an iconic destination in New York City, filled with locals and tourists alike. We strolled into Giovanni Rana Restaurant today after walking 7 miles in the city, and we were ready for a good meal.
There was a note at the bottom of the menu requesting to please notify your server if you are vegan, vegetarian or have any food allergies. So, I called the waitress over and explained to her my food preferences, and she told me everything was already cooked in oil and they could only do a salad. Now, after walking 7 miles, you can imagine a salad just wasn't going to cut it. She, too was understanding and within a few seconds we had already come up with an alternate plan. I saw they had a ravioli with fresh fava beans, so I suggested a vegetable plate with fava beans, and she said that would be perfect, and they would charge me $13 for the plate. I agreed, and in the meantime ordered a fresh pressed juice of carrot, beet, spinach, and apple. The service was very slow and inattentive, considering we were one of the first tables for dinner.
The juice arrived about 10 minutes after ordering it, albeit a bit chunky. The server proclaimed "Beet Juice" as he put it down on the table, and there were hints of orange and pineapple that probably were just from the cross-contamination in the machine. It certainly didn't taste of much spinach or carrot, but there was plenty of apple.
When the food arrived, I was presented with a small, oval tin that was just big enough to fit 4 small carrots, 3 brussels sprouts, and about 1/4 cup fava beans. The tin was cute and the vegetables were fresh and steamed perfectly, but for $13, I was starting to wonder if I got to take the the tin home.
I called over the waitress and asked if this was the plate they were going to charge $13. She said yes, so I told her I wasn't sure if she had seen the size, but it was most definitely not an entree. She asked me what she could do for me, and if I was still hungry I could order dessert. I was skeptical that they would have any vegan desserts, considering how the menu went over, and she quickly told me she was vegan too and that the sorbet was an option. Sorbet: water, fruit, and sugar. Sounds filling right? I told her I just wanted to be charged a reasonable price for the dish I was served so she ended up taking it off the bill.
Overall, Giovanni Rana Restaurant is
gluten-free or vegan friendly, and I would recommend choosing another restaurant unless you want to go home hungry.