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Last week the NYC FOODETTE (my younger sister) and I went to Pure Food and Wine, the popular raw/vegan restaurant in Gramercy. Now, I’m a huge fan of my meat, but sometimes I get inspired to eat healthy, and this was one of those times. The term “raw” refers to keeping all of the ingredients under 118 degrees. This was the perfect spot for my sister, who you can call a “Seagan” (she eats mainly vegetables and some seafood).
The place is really sexy, with walls and chairs of red. They also have the most amazing patio in NYC, great for dining alfresco in spring and summer.
We decided to get the five-course tasting menu ($69) so we could truly explore this different way of eating. All the dishes were beautiful and looked like works of art.
One standout included the Winter Salad of Mache, Frisee and Wild Arugula in Walnut Birch Vinaigrette which came with Long Island apples, candied walnuts, and tea smoked cashew cheese. This was a great salad because not only did everything complement each other perfectly, but that tea smoked cashew cheese was absolutely mind-blowing. There is no use of dairy in vegan cooking, and this cashew cheese really tasted like cheese, yet it was made of cashews. Also, I’m normally not a fan of walnuts, but the candied walnuts tasted great and gave the salad a delicious crunch.
The appetizer of Asparagus Sushi Rolls with Mirin Soaked Forest Mushrooms with avocado, red pepper, sweet basil, and pepper gastrique was excellent. I have had this dish before and it is always great. After finishing the rolls you completely forget that there was no fish in them.
The White Corn Tamales with Raw Cacao Mole came with marinated mushrooms, salsa verde and avocado. I’m not a huge tamale eater, but it is safe to say this was the best I’ve ever had. All the flavors were delicious and it was an addictive dish.
One dish that blew my mind was the Winter Vegatable Tagine with Ceylon Cinnamon Date Cous-Cous with preserved cucumbers, olive flatbreads, and cheese stuffed picholine olives. This was probably the least attractive of the dishes, but the flavor combinations were superb. It was very unique and tasty.
Probably the most popular dish at Pure Food and Wine, and one I had enjoyed in the past, is the Zucchini and Local Hothouse Tomato Lasagna with basil pistachio pesto, sun-dried tomato sauce, and pinoli ricotta. Thinly cut pieces of zucchini take the place of pasta, a unique vegetarian take on this Italian staple. This dish is refreshing, a work of art, and ingenious.
You don’t want to miss out on dessert at Pure Food and Wine either. The Trio of Dark Chocolate Coated Indian Spiced Ice Cream Treats, which came with a chocolate cardamom coconut ice cream cone, pistachio gelato ice cream sandwich, and a chai tea creamsicle, was amazing! Like most of the food here, it was addictive and mind-blowing! (They don’t use dairy- the ice cream is made of coconut- I still cannot believe it!)
Pure Food and Wine is just like the Zucchini Lasagna dish: ingenious and refreshing. After every meal I eat here I feel rejuvenated, energized, refreshed, and healthy. The food here is superb and it is obvious much time and care goes into preparing each dish. The front of the menu states “Organic ingredients and handcrafted flavors that rejuvenate the body, mind and planet” and I couldn’t agree more. Dining at Pure Food and Wine can be a life-changing experience, and what better time for a change than now?
Pure Food and Wine
54 Irving Place (at 17th St.)
New York, NY 10003