Saturday, 29 August 2009

Pure Food and Wine, New York

Pure Food & Wine - front garden

When you let a couple of self-confessed 'foodies' pick somewhere for dinner, you know you're going to get a treat.

Especially when they kindly pick a fully vegan restaurant.

I met up with the lovely Chef E and her husband in New York and, after a tour that took in some interesting less-touristy spots in Brooklyn and Queens (see photos on Flickr), they booked us a table at Pure Food and Wine for dinner.

The restaurant is vegan, gluten free, raw food....... but has an ambience a million miles from the hippy-chick style so often associated with vegetarian restaurants. Wow. Only in New York??

I'd actually never been to a raw food restaurant before. I'd assumed that raw meant, well, raw... but it turns out it doesn't actually mean that the food is completely uncooked, just that the temperature hasn't gone above a certain level.

The menu was full of amazing-sounding things, making it very difficult to choose, but somehow we managed to narrow it down.

For starters I shared a cheese plate (nut cheeses) with Elizabeth. Vegan cheese seldom has much in common with 'normal' cheese,and I think that was still true in this case, but they did taste great - really nutty flavours. The cheeses were served with a blackcurrant compote, watercress salad, and "rosemary crisps"; although all the individual parts were delicious, the extra flavours overpowered the cheeses, so in the end we mostly ate each thing seperately.

For my main course, I opted for the roasted chantarelle mushrooms with truffle creamed broccoli. This was served with a massive dollop of pesto, an artistic swirl of port & mustard sauce, and a generous sprinkling of tiny chive flowers. All the flavours were really distinctive, and delicious; nothing was overcooked (as you'd hope, in a raw food restaurant!) and all seemed really fresh. If I had chance to go back, there are several other dishes I'd like to try - but I'm also sorry that I'll probably never get another opportunity to have this meal again.

The only real complaint (and with my eyesight, I'd never have noticed this in the dim light) is that they hadn't bothered to repair some tattered corners on their chairs... which you'd think they could afford to do, considering how much they were charging.

This was one of the most expensive restaurants I've eaten at in a while, but it was definitely worth every penny cent for imagination within some pretty tough (self-imposed) constraints. The portions weren't large by American standards, but they certainly weren't small - the main course was enough to fill me up, which tends not to be the case in some of the fancier British restaurants. I've eaten at Michelin-starred places which have been a lot less innovative and frankly less tasty.

Thanks are due to Elizabeth for taking the food photos to avoid scaring everyone with my SLR! I'll post a link to her account of the evening just as soon as I get it, so you can hear about her stuffed squash flowers...

Address:54 Irving Place, New York, NY 10003
Style:Vegetarian raw
Date Visited:15 August 2009

1 comment:

alisa said...

I love your photos and reviews.Your site is an excellent resource for great vegan&vegetarian restaurants not just in the US but around the world too!I came across your site from the foodieblogroll and I'd love to guide our readers to your site if you won't mind.Just add your choice of foodista widget to this post and it's all set, Thanks!

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