This is the new incarnation of young chef Mawule Jobe-Simon's Green Paradise that was on Vanderbilt Ave. + Dean Street back a few years ago. Raw Star arrived to great relief to this vegan in the summer of 2008. The food is fantastic! Improvements over the previous dining space include its expansion to include several tables with seating up to about nine or twelve people. The grass thatched roof hanging over the bamboo counter is quaint, replete with faux birds' nests. Staff are friendly, and the proprietor himself radiates genuine positive vibes and charm. The food is spectacular; easily on par with the quality at East Village raw joint, Quintessence, but much cheaper. Mawule is Trinidadian, so many of the offerings will satisfy palates seeking West Indian spice sensibility. Curry and tahini combinations never tasted better. All of the food is rich in flavor, and are all accessible in composition. This is not a typical exclusive Trinidadian menu imitated with mock-meat souse and oxtail; the flavors are global in origin and similar in satisfaction. The deserts are balanced and dense, so you get your money's worth. Unlike other raw desert offerings I've eaten elsewhere (like some of grainy puree uncheesecakes at Lifethyme in the Village), Raw Star fruit and nut pies are smooth and not mysterious are to their ingredients: whole pieces of fruit and berries are easily recognizable. The balance between sweetness and health is well-crafted.
Pros: Independently-operated, positive atmosphere, West Indian, nearby, healthy, affordable, open late, good recorded music (Marley or Fela usually)
Cons: Space is limited, sometimes out of desert items