NYC: Dirt Candy (Apr. 2013)
Author: Victor and Monte
Restaurant: Dirt Candy
Exec Chef: Amanda Cohen
Date: April 4, 2013
We’ve wanted to try Dirt Candy for a while now; a LOT of friends have recommended it and have said that it’s a great vegetarian restaurant—and it is! Unfortunately, reservations are pretty hard to get, so I did some OpenTable stalking and managed to find a reservation a few days before! (Reservations open up every now and then—otherwise you’ll have to wait at least a month…)
Combination of bad lighting + iPhone camera = terrible pics once again. Oh well.
Jalapeño Hush Puppies
with maple butter
Monte: Mmm spicy corndog exterior without the corndog inside.
Monte: This bread’s texture was very fluffy, and it was pointed out by our friend Jessie that it had the taste of you tiao/dau chao quay, and I totally agreed – but it was great in its own right because there was none of the accompanying greasiness of dau chao quay. I love dipping it in the spiced olive oil, it added a great fragrant kick to the already good bread. Victor suggested also dipping it into the sweet maple butter, and it surprisingly worked: sweet smokey maple butter + spiced olive oil = winning combination.
Fennel and sunflower soup, pickled mustard seeds, mustard green pesto, and fennel pretzels
Monte: This was a good soup, and wasn’t offensively licorice-y as I sometimes find fennel to be. It was more of a mild onion flavor, and worked well with the mustard. The sunflower seeds definitely made the soup taste very nutty too.
Portobello mousse, truffled toast, and pear and fennel compote
Monte: The mushroom mousse, shaped into a cube, is freaking fascinating. I’ve never seen a vegetarian rendition of foie pate, but this is definitely it and it rocks. It’s very rich, creamy, and full of portobello flavor. The sauteed mushroom mountain was a too salty and overwhelming to go with the mousse though. Separately they’re both delicious, just not together.
Chinese kohlrabi salad, purple cabbage wontons, and Sichuan walnuts
Monte: The texture of the salad was super crunchy, not just from the wontons as expected, but from the cabbage itself!
Scallion pancakes, pearl onion rings, grilled scallion salad, and Thai basil cream
Monte: I think this is more like a potato puff/actual pancake, rather than the “scallion pancake” of chinese restaurants. It’s really good though, fluffy on the inside and full of buttery flavor.
Smoked and buttermilk-battered cauliflower, waffles, horseradish, and wild arugula salad
Monte: The deep fried cauliflower was cool, and I guess was supposed to resemble chicken. The waffles themselves weren’t crispy, but were really sweet – more crepe-like than waffle-like in terms of overall flavor. It worked surprisingly well with the rest of the dish.
Stone-ground grits, tempura-poached egg, corn cream, and pickled shiitake mushrooms
Monte: This dish was a tad too rich for me, but I liked it. The tempura poached egg was really cool – I’ve never had a deep fried egg and this was awesome. The yolk was somehow still kind of runny – amazing.
Coconut-poached tofu, sea beans, saffron sauce, long beans with Moroccan herbs, and sizzling rice
Monte: This dish actually tasted really asian. The fried beans on top of the tofu didn’t really do much for me but the salty and spicy long beans underneath (hard to see in this picture) were really tasty.
Parsnip pillows, watermelon radish, tarragon, and parsnip biscuit
Monte: Yuuuuum this dish was amazing. It was basically parsnip gnocchi, and made for a super tender flavorful bite. It was like biting into a soft mochi, except savory and not chewy!
Celery Cheesecake Roll
Celeriac ice cream, peanut filling, and candied grapes
Monte: The cake was a bit dry, and could have used some bacon in it. Too bad it’s a vegetarian restaurant.
Ice Cream Nanaimo Bar
Sweet pea, mint, and chocolate