At Amanda Cohen’s adorable (i.e.: shoebox-sized) East Village restaurant, Dirt Candy, vegetables are the stars. While it’s technically a vegetarian restaurant, everything can easily be made in vegan form as well. I would wholeheartedly recommend a visit to vegans, vegetarians and meat-eaters alike, as the food is thoughtful and delicious and just truly special. An overview of what we ate follows. If you’re interested, more detail + photos can be found on my blog: http://healthypantz.com/2012/05/04/di...
Portobello mousse, truffled toast, pear compote:
This dish was beautifully (and deliciously) composed: a square of silky mousse, a few perfectly roasted whole mushrooms, a mound of sweet compote, and truffle-laced toast. Photos really don't do it justice. If you like mushrooms, you must order this.
Steamed bbq carrot buns and cucumber salad with sesame seeds and carrot halvah:
YUM. These buns were sweet, fluffy, delicious pillows of carrot-y filled goodness. I loved them. The accompanying cucumber salad with halvah was a huge winner as well, and I’d gladly order an entire plate of it alone for any meal.
Chard gnocchi, grilled chard with garlic granola and drunken fig jam:
When we asked for recommendations, our waitress steered us toward the gnocchi, insisting that the dish was incredible. She was right. The gnocchi were fluffy and carb-y like a gnocchi should be, but the chard provided an element of earthiness that made you feel like you were still eating your vegetables. The flavor combo of the chard + granola + fig jam was an intriguing pairing on paper, and plate-licking good in practice.
Coconut poached tofu, shiso galangal sauce, salsify, and hearts of palm:
This was the least exciting of all the dishes we ordered. I make tofu at home all the time, and this preparation wasn’t so exotic that it left me weak in the knees. That said, there wasn’t a morsel left over, so we definitely liked it a great deal.
Rosemary eggplant Tiramisu, rosemary cotton candy, mascarpone:
While the tiramisu was delicious, and had kind of a smoky eggplant hint to its flavoring, we really ordered this dish for the cotton candy. I love rosemary and cotton candy separately, and my taste buds didn’t really know what to do with the fusion of the two flavors at first. But then I had another bite and was undeniably addicted. I found myself wondering how much counter space a cotton candy machine would take up in our apartment so we could make it at home. Seriously, this cotton candy is a star.