PURE FOOD & WINE – NYC
54 Irving Place New York, NY 10003
When I was very little my grandmother used to ask me what I wanted for dinner before visiting her house and I would always excitedly screetch “salad!!” Now one could see this as either I was a completely deranged child, or I have just always really like vegetables. I’ll choose the latter.
That being said, I am by no means even close to vegetarian nor would I even consider being vegetarian. But I can appreciate a great meal of vegetables and also believe that in many cases it requires much more skill to create an outstanding dish of vegetables than a protein dish. With their fresh ingredients, colorful presentation and creativity in the use of ingredients, Pure Food & Wine will blow your mind with their delicious dishes that are completely animal product-free. On the beverage front, all of the drinks and cocktails on the menu are organic wines and sakes.
One of my friends lives right next door to Pure so we decided to have an impromptu dinner one night. We started with a Philly roll of avocado, Kim Chee and creamy cashew cheese-tatsoi, hijiki, scallion, sweet chili sauce. This was a sushi roll that I would order at any Japanese restaurant regardless of whether or not they had fish. The roll was beautiful and colorful and the multitude of flavors popped in your mouth.
Next we had the king oyster mushroom scallops, with Brussels sprouts and shiitake miso broth, miso glazed pecans, shaved radish and micro mustard. This was a dish that tried to replicate a protein (scallops) with a vegetable. The mushrooms were cut into perfect little disks and actually did taste meaty. The broth had layers of flavor.
As one of our mains we chose the zucchini, local heirloom tomato lasagna with basil pistachio pesto, sun-dried tomato marinara, and macadamia pumpkin seed ricotta. Not only was this dish incredibly beautiful but it really did taste like lasagna. The “ricotta” had a very similar flavor to the dairy version and I ate my entire share with eyes wide open in shock and awe.
Our second entree was a hen of the woods mushroom taco dish al Pastor with smoked guacamole, hearts of palm, fresh corn, guajillo crema fresca, and pickled onions. This just simply tasted like really good Mexican. I wish all my tacos has this many accoutrements to dress them up. The tangy pickled onions added nice contrast to the creamy crema fresca and smokey guacamole. The mushrooms added a nice deep, protein-like texture.
The dessert was the other dish that really amazed me. It was an ice cream sundae maybe better than any full fat / dairy sundae I have ever eaten. There are two versions on the menu and we went with the classic. The “ice creams” are all made out of cashew milk, almond milk and rice milk sweetened with coconut cream and dressed up with slivered almonds, cacao syrup and a few other toppings. Truly amazing what you can do with natural whole ingredients. I’ll be back for that one.
Pure Food & Wine is a must try for anyone vegetarian, anyone looking for a healthy meal, or anyone just looking for something different.