UMAMI MART MATSURI FESTIVAL
Dirt Candy is OPEN!!! It's a stylish restaurant that makes you forget that there is no meat on the menu. Seriously, a vegetarian joint has never been hipper in atmosphere, or amenable to the carnivorous palette. There's such a taboo against vegetable-only restaurants: they are always either too granola-y and dogmatic, or tasteless. Often both, at the same time, if you're into that sort of thing. Dirt Candy defies this assumption- dishes by chef Amanda Cohen (previously of Pure Food and Wine) are inventive and playful. It's all in the name!

Amanda and Grady (her husband and friend of mine) were kind enough to invite me to a tasting last week. Here's our awesome meal- enjoy!

SNACK

Jalapeno hush puppies with maple butter. Brilliant.


FIRST COURSE

Portobello mousse and fennel peach compote. The blissful mousse is chockfull of mushroom goodness, it is unreal (however, it's a mushroom hater's worst nightmare).


Spinach soup with smoked tofu dumplings and lemon confit. I detected some lemongrass in there, which gave the soup a refreshing twist.


Mixed green salad with grilled cheese croutons and candied grapefruit pops. Grilled cheese croutons!!! DIG IT!


I've never had anything like these candied grapefruits. It lightly crunches when you first bite into it, then the grapefruit juice squirts all over the place. So delightful.


SECOND COURSE

Stone ground grits with pickled shiitake and a tempura poached egg. Riddle me this: how does one deep fry a poached egg? It was perfectly cooked!


Carrot risotto with carrot dumplings. A bit too rich for my taste (Chef Cohen is not afraid to use heavy cream and butter- a good thing, but became a bit overwhelming by the end of the meal), but check out the little orange dumplings in the shape of diced carrots- so cute!


Crispy tofu with green ragout and kaffir lime beurre blanc. Edamame and bok choy here as well- the different shades of greens were gorgeous.


DESSERT

Popcorn pudding with hazelnut caramel corn. Great concept.


Sesame cake with carrot-orange sorbet and citrus salad.


Chocolate cake with sweet potato and rum ice cream.


The above two desserts were a bit disappointing- the cakes were all too dry and a bit bland.

INTERIOR

An intimate, cozy restaurant, concieved by the same Japanese dude who designed a few other NYC hot spots.


Gorgeous stainless steel kitchen straight back.


Walls built with recycled wood chips.


Bathroom is so cute- I loved the "Employees must wash hand," frosted onto the mirror directly. Muy clever.


You all know I love my meat- but here's finally a place where I can go fully knowing there is none of it on the menu. That says a whole lot.

Dirt Candy
430 E 9th Street
Between 1st Ave & Avenue A
NYC
T: 212.228.7732
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1 comment

  • Vegees are vegees, give me my meat! Also where is your Japan postings? We are all waiting for them!

    Yamahomo on

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