Dear NYC Foodie lovers,
I am NYC Foodette, NYC Foodie's younger sister. Last night I went to Candle 79 with our other sister (no relation to the film The Other Sister). Believe it or not, I had wanted to check it out even before Frank Bruni's one-star review since I have recently (a little over 6 months ago) become a "pescatarian" with vegan tendencies. This means I do not eat any meat that comes from land animals and I try to avoid all dairy products as much as possible, but I do eat a fair amout of seafood, especially sushi. Judgement expected and accepted...
Ok, onto the meal. We shared everything, as usual - even the drink, not as usual (both the sharing of it and the fact that it was non-alcoholic). Our sweet, vegan waiter Christopher had the bartender conveniently split into two glasses the Antioxidant Potion: concord grape, pomegranate, cranberry, lemon, sparkling water ($7). This drink was right up my alley - bold flavors, refreshing, and just the right amount of tartness. This was one of about 10 juicy mixtures, and there are also around 8 delicious-seeming cocktails that I would like to try when it's not a school night (no, I'm not a student, but old sayings die hard).
We were then served our starter and our salad simultaneously. We had the Wild Mushroom and Spinach Pate served with crostini, roasted garlic bulb and balsamic reduction ($14) and the Beet Salad with mache, arugula, apples, baby carrots, haricots verts, toasted pecans and a vanilla-fig dressing. The salad was also supposed to come with fennel, but we asked them not to add it as neither my sister nor I is a fan of the anise-flavored plant. The fennel-less salad was very tasty; it was sweet and light, and the perfect complement to our other dish. The pate was much more filling than I would have expected, and the balance of spinach and mushroom was perfect. I must admit, however, that what attracted me most on the plate was the roasted garlic bulb. I probably shouldn't admit this in a public forum, but when we had finished the rest of the dish, I picked up the near-empty garlic clove and ate every last drop I could extract without looking like a complete neanderthal (no offense, Geico dudes).
By the time our entree arrived (right after we finished our previous course) I was pretty full, but was still excited to try our next dish: Porcini Crusted Tofu with garlic mashed potatoes, sauteed spinach and cabernet-wild mushroom sauce ($22). In case you couldn't tell, my sister and I are really into spinach and mushrooms, and they were both great in this dish. The most prevalent flavor was the mushrooms, and those found in the sauce were some of the best I've had. The sauce was generously poured over the tofu, which was sliced for easy sharing and eating and cooked perfectly. It was a great dish, and something I definitely can't cook at home.
At this point the level of fullness was ridiculous, but who can resist vegan dessert? We went for the Live Key Lime Tart with nut granola crust, key-lime cashew cream and huckleberry ice cream ($13). A few of the items on the menu say "live" and this just means it's a completely raw dish. I think I would have enjoyed the tart a bit more had I had a bit more room in my stomach, but it was a pleasant way to end the meal. I would have preferred the "custard" to be a bit more tart, but the huckleberry ice cream (magically dairy-free) made up for it.
You know how sometimes you feel like you're dreaming even though it's the middle of the day and you are clearly awake? Well by the end of the meal that's how I felt, but more intensely than I ever have. Perhaps it was something in the wild mushrooms... I left feeling totally satisfied, slightly stoned, and very excited for my next adventure at this diner- and planet-friendly haven.
154 E 79th Street
New York, NY 10075