Our latest installment of Quick Bites brings us to West 3rd for some vegan goodness.

THE VIBE

A little over a year ago the first Spicy Moon opened in the East Village, serving a robust menu of Sichuan favorites that distinguished themselves by 1) tasting really good and 2) being entirely vegan. A winning concept, well executed, in a lively, colorful room. No surprise, the place has been a big hit on East 6th Street.

Last weekend the Spicy Moon crew opened a second location about a half mile west of the original, a larger, slightly more sophisticated restaurant in the heart of NYU territory. There's seating for about 50 here at three separate areas, moving from the unfortunately scaffolded entrance on West 3rd towards the possible outdoor patio in the rear. A bar with small round tables greets you up front, a weird but appealingly homey lounge sits in the middle, and a more formal dining room with three baller banquettes awaits in the back.

The decor is borderline artsy, featuring a protozoa-shaped piece made of fake flora, a goofy, streamer-strewn "Veganizer" nook that encourages Instagram posing, and the lounge, decked out with fake family photos, reminds me of many an art fair installation. The staff is super friendly and professional, the soundtrack leans toward 1980s MTV hits (minus most of the hair metal), and overall it's just a fun, pleasant place to hang out and eat too much food.

Dab Dan Noodles with Beyond Beef ($11.95)

Scott Lynch / Gothamist

THE BITES

Everything at Spicy Moon is always vegan, and everything I've ever had at either location has been delicious. Most of the menu at the West Village branch will be familiar to Spicy Moon fans—the famous Steamed Vegetable Dumplings and the intense Mapo Tofu have made the journey in fine fashion—but there are a few new dishes here as well, two of which I ate last Friday and highly recommend you also put on your table.

The Spicy Lettuce Wrap with Beyond Sausage, for example, is a terrific little dish, a mixed-up mound of diced tofu, well-seasoned fake sausage, bright green soy beans, and enough bird chilies to get your attention. Put a little pile into one of the fresh, crisp lettuce cups for an excellent snack-y experience. Also new and just as good are the Sliced Cold Bamboo Shoots, which are firm but not woody and lightly dressed in a chili-oil sauce.

My feast the other night also included some Spicy Moon basics, like the slippery and satisfying Dan Dan Noodles, to which I added crumbled Beyond Beef, mostly for texture and not strictly necessary. The Mixed Vegetable Dry Pot also hit the mark, a flaming crock filled with perfectly cooked mushrooms, potatoes, cauliflower, and juicy pieces of cucumber. Again, the kitchen is not afraid of big flavors, and there is ample cumin and peppercorns on here to keep things interesting.

THE VERDICT

Whether you're vegan or not, Spicy Moon is a great addition to this piece of the Village. It will definitely be my pre-IFC/pre-Angelika go-to spot for the foreseeable future.

Scott Lynch / Gothamist

The West Village Spicy Moon is located at 68 West 3rd Street, between Laguardia place and Thompson Street, and is open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. (spicymoonnyc.com)