Went to the vegetarian place Candle 79 (154 E. 79th, east of Lex) for the first time tonight, and was very happy with the experience. We had a reservation but asked to be moved from the front of the restaurant where we had been seated at a cramped, tiny table. Once they reseated us at a spacious booth we were quite content.
Service was excellent, knowledgeable and not overbearing. The server knew her wines and recommended something appropriate based on our preferences. My friend and I shared a delicious Mediterranean salad -- it was smaller than I expected considering the server said it was large enough to share: I could easily have consumed it all myself. I had a wonderful quinoa-lentil cake on top of haricot verts with an ancho aioli and roasted garlic. It was moist, tasty and satisfying. My friend had seitan piccata with spinach and garlic mashed potatoes, their "signature dish," which she thought was great. Dessert was a lovely chocolate mousse with coconut sauce and a macaroon, also excellent. Good espresso too. The downside: pricey for the size of the portions, especially the salad.
But in terms of quality, Candle 79 demonstrates that vegetarian food has come a really long way. Also, I'm allergic to wheat and a wheat-free menu, which included almost all of the entrees, was provided for me. Any open minded person, vegetarian or not, would find something excellent on this menu, and walk out feeling satisfied. I'll be back.