430 e. 9th stNY, NY 10009
Amanda Cohen is not a vegetarian, she eats sea food, but definitely knows how to cook vegetarian food. Her profile is at http://www.dirtcandynyc.com/?page_id=31. She also maintains an interesting blog at her site.
Dirt Candy is a 20-seat vegetarian restaurant in New York City dedicated to disproving people’s perceptions that vegetarian food is boring. Getting to this East Village newcomer is a cinch. It is at 9th street and 1st avenue. Make reservations because they have only 20 seats and it gets very crowded very quickly, after 9pm reservations are easier. The first impression once you enter the place is that it is tiny. There is one waiter and Amanda and two line chefs in the kitchen.
Amanda offers a menu that is inspired from vegetables and starts with a bang with the Jalapeno Hush Puppies served with maple butter. Once you pop one of these into your mouth, you are transported to the world where pleasure rules. I had to restrict my inner six-year old and not order a encore of these puppies.
I ordered an appetizer/salad that was a seaweed creation with a base of greens and deep fried cheese balls. This salad was tasty and filling.
The main entrée was corn, stone ground grits, corn cream and a tempura poached egg on the top. Out of the world. There is something earthy about eating grits with eggs. It is greasy alright, but the taste is out of the world with the right combination of cream and pickled shitake mushrooms.
Service was attentive, my water glass was refilled without prompting and were courteous in explaining the ingredients and choices. Prices were on the steep side but you expect that with any niche restaurant.
We wish Amanda great success in making this Candy not only a guilty pleasure outing but a outing choice that is well qualified by its food and not qualified by its vegetarianism.