Sunday, January 11, 2009

dirtcandy - Vegetarian for Carnivores

(430 E. 9th st b/t Ave. A and First Ave)
Sorry, but we forgot to bring a camera on this one. Check out the restaurant website for some photos of the food. Trudged through messy slush in the East Village on a Saturday night and almost walked by this tiny little closet. I knew the place was small, but I still couldn't believe how small until the 4 of us were squished into a corner booth. The service was excellent, my vegan friend Heather had lots of questions about the menu and they were very accomodating. We were seated right by where the friendly owner/chef was preparing our meals. The jalapeno hush puppies with maple butter were delicious. The portobello mouse appetizer was good, but not as good as I had expected after reading rave reviews about it. Kris absolutely adored his mixed green salad with grilled cheese croutons and grapefruit pops. For my entree, I enjoyed a hearty serving of stone ground grits with a tempura pouched egg on top. The tempura egg was truly divine - it made the dish so luxurious. Kris had the crispy tofu with the green ragout, and my typically unobservant husband was shockingly perceptive and appreciative of all the little details, like how the tofu was plated like a filet of white fish, crispy skin and all, and how each one of his vegetables were perfectly cooked and seasoned in the beurre blanc sauce. For dessert, I had the popcorn pudding, which was yummy and very original - the caramel corn was nice and salty, and tasted great dipped in the pudding. Kris always orders chocolate desserts, so no surprise when he ordered the chocolate cake with the chili chocolate ice cream. The chili wasn't overwhelming, just added a nice warmth to the chocolate. The atmosphere was loud and boisterous, even though we had an early seating, but the noise level became a little overwhelming throughout dinner (I felt like I was shouting to be heard). FYI - even without gas, they still were cranking out meals smoothly, so I guess the food can only get better once they're finally hooked up!

The Verdict: My carnivore husband didn't even miss the meat!

3/21/09 Update: Just found out from my friend Heather that dirtcandy finally has gas!