Neighborhood Eats: Meat-like vegetarian goodness at Terri

MIDTOWN EAST, Manhattan (WABC) -- In this edition of Neighborhood Eats, we're trying some tasty meals that are also healthy and vegetarian.

Craig Cochran gave up meat 20 years ago, but he still craved the foods of his childhood. So now, he's serving them vegan style at his restaurant Terri.

"I wanted the same flavor profiles I ate growing up," he said. "And I wanted to tweak them to be a little healthier."

There are three locations -- 60 West 23rd Street in Chelsea, 100 Maiden Lane in the Financial District, and 685 Third Avenue in Midtown -- and the name comes from the coincidence that both he and business partner Mike Pease have moms named Terri.

Many of the recipes are mom's, but with a plant-based approach

"I've been playing around with food for quite a while, and I've been eating this way for 20 years," Cochran said. "And when I find something that has a neat flavor profile, I play around with it until it's something that I like."

Take the fish filet. The fish is made with cashews that are seasoned with salt, pepper, thyme and cayenne, and then blended until creamy. That is combined with hearts of palm that have been thinly sliced.

Cochran makes that into a patty and fries it, and it gets topped with soy cheese and eggless tartar sauce. It's crazy how it actually tastes like fish.

There's also a tuna melt, buffalo chicken sandwich, meatball sandwich, all vegan and certified kosher.

And of course, there are salads, juices smoothies and baked goods, all to satisfy the owner's sweet tooth.

"We don't use processed sugar," Cochran said. "But they taste as bad for you as the other stuff. You know, that's the key."

Terri recipe for vegan fish filet:

To make the patties (makes 6-8):

1 28 oz can of hearts of palm
1 cup of unsalted cashews soaked in water for at least 2 hours
1/2 cup of flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp cayenne
1 tsp thyme
canola oil

--Drain hearts of palm then chop the long way and place in a mixing bowl.

--Place drained and soaked cashews in a blender or food processor. Fill with water just enough to cover cashews. Add salt, pepper, cayenne, and thyme. Blend until creamy.

--Add cashew cream to the chopped hearts of palm and mix while adding flour a little at a time.

--Form patties with your hands and place in a skillet with oil. Pan sear on both sides until golden brown.

For tartar sauce:

1/2 cup Vegenaise
1/8 cup diced dill pickles
1 tsp lemon juice

--Mix all ingredients in a bowl and serve.

Serve fish with tartar sauce on your favorite hamburger bun, with lettuce and cheese (or vegan cheese)

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