I recently had the pleasure of dining at Dirt Candy, a vegetarian restaurant owned by chef Amanda Cohen in New York City. First of all, let me just say how much I love their menu design – the use of different fonts and colors makes everything stand out on its own, which ultimately pops in your face and makes you want to eat EVERYTHING. Good job menu designers! On to the experience.
I was quite skeptical at first and even made a back-up plan to visit the nearby Momofuku after my reserved dinner, thinking that I would be pretty hungry after a meal of vegetables. Boy was I wrong. Not only was I full after the 10-course chef’s tasting menu, I was very pleasantly and satisfyingly full – I did not feel heavy or gross as one does after eating meat. Everything was delicious, nutritious, and consisted entirely of vegetables.
The chef’s menu, which goes for $60 per person is well worth the investment because you get to try a wide variety of dishes, complemented by dessert. The full experience lasts 2 hours and is perfectly paced. The staff is extremely attentive and friendly, as well as knowledgable.
The meal started with a simply-prepared radish and pickled artichokes
The quality of the vegetables and their accompanying ingredients, along with meticulous preparation and the perfect balance of flavors on every plate made this meal remarkable. My palate was left completely satisfied and pleasantly surprised as course after course proved more delicious than the previous. Here are the rest of the vegetables I consumed during the night:
The Dirt Candy bread
Died with different vegetable juices and served with house-made garlic butter.
Korean Fried Broccoli
Broccoli in its most delicious form – perfectly crispy and seasoned with all the spices you experience in a great kimchi. By far my favorite.
Served with mushroom pate and poached pears, along with dots of delicious sauces
Garnished with a plethora of greens and EVOO.
The following course, which consisted of my favorite vegetable – the tomato, absolutely blew my mind.
Cherry Tomatoes on Smoked Feta and Tomato Cake, wrapped with Tomato Skin
Spicy Eggplant topped with Water Chestnut
And finally, to finish the meal:
The base of which consisted of pan fried brussels sprouts and came with butter lettuce wraps and all the savory toppings you’d expect for delicious tacos.
Finally, for dessert,
Onion Chocolate Tart
The edge was taken off the onion by caramelizing it. The tart itself consisted of a mousse base topped with chocolate ganache and very interesting ice cream.
Let’s not forget the drinks – I had an enormous gin and tonic, served in a wine glass, which made me more than satisfied.
If you love vegetables…or hate them (because you will love them after this)…and you are looking for a super savory and wonderfully-composed meal, make a reservation to Dirt Candy and let your mouth enjoy a very pleasant evening.