It's been almost six years since I went to my parents house and nearly reduced my mother to tears because I told her that I am, brace yourself, a vegetarian. Telling her right before Thanksgiving was probably not the wisest move but better to tell her in advance than hide bits of turkey underneath my mashed potatoes and pretend not to be hungry. At this point she is much more comfortable with my decision not to eat meat, and has stopped eating bacon in front of me (it's the one food that I miss as a vegetarian which I think speaks volumes about its magical powers).
As much as I love my mother it's nice to eat with like-minded people every now and then which prompted me to have dinner with the New York City Vegetarian and Vegan Meetup group. Over the course of the evening almost 100 of New York and New Jersey's vegetarians came out of the woodwork for dinner at Soy and Sake, a cafe that serves up a vast menu of all vegetarian and vegan food. I ordered the Ying Yang noodles, a plate piled high with clear noodles, vegetables, and soy-chicken, soy-pork, and soy-shrimp. The woman next to me enjoyed the soy-chicken teriyaki which sizzled as it was served piping hot on a skillet. Another of my dining companions had a bento box complete with vegi-friendly California rolls, tempura, dumplings. and fried soy-pork. The food was delicious and reasonably priced and the restaurant is easy to get to (right near the West 4th street stop on the F/M). Everyone I ate with very personable and friendly. This group meets up a vegetarian restaurants throughout the city about once a week and all are welcome, even non-vegetarians.
You can find meetup groups for nearly every interest so give it a try!
Soy and Sake, 47 7th Avenue South (between Bleecker and Morton)