I’m far from being a proponent of veganism, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t experienced amazing animal product-free meals. Consequently, I’ve wanted to try Blossom, New York’s most well-known vegan restaurant, since I saw pictures of its dishes on Yelp two years ago. Considering my friends Mer and Kilo just finished up their health cleanses, we decided to continue the momentum and give the healthy dairy-free restaurant a try. I was surprised by the ambience when I arrived – instead of the hippie decor I expected, the place was dark, classy, and intimate, just like any romantic restaurant in New York should be. But the disparities became apparent once I noticed the lack of complimentary bread. Last I checked, most bread is vegan, so there’s really no excuse for not serving pre-dinner snacks. And when the waiter described the “braised seitan special,” I couldn’t help but chuckle. It really takes a lot of work to try to make a braised artificial meat sound delicious.
I went for the stuff that I would have found at a normal restaurant – I can’t be bothered with seitan and tofu. To start, we shared the porcini cigars, hand rolled phyllo dough filled with porcini mushrooms and served on top of a creamy cashew pesto sauce. This was my favorite dish by far. For my main, I ordered the Blossom Greens that were tossed in a delicious gingery dressing, as well as the Black Eyed Pea Cake recommended by our waiter. The cake was a disappointment – it was over-salted, and I was disgusted the second I saw the massive lump of the mayo-like substance covering the entire thing. I think without the overwhelming, jiggly sauce, and a little bit less salt, the cake would actually be quite good.
I also tried Mer’s dish, the lemon-dusted tofu with coconut rice. The rice was fine, but the tofu was almost inedible. The aromatics were so overpowering that I felt like I was putting a bar of soap in my mouth.
Despite the various disappointments, I know Blossom has potential. And if I were a long-time vegan, this food would taste like it was coming straight from the heavens. But as a cheese and meat lover, I can confidently say that the salad was truly delicious, and the food is daring, inventive, and beautifully plated. Blossom definitely brings a food category with limited room for creativity to the next level, but the next time around, I’ll be weary of the overpowering seasoning that unfortunately masked the true essence of many dishes. And I’ll definitely try dessert, which is what they’re really known for.
Location: 187 9th Avenue @ 22nd Street