If someone were to invite you to dinner to eat raw vegan food, your first inclination might be to run for the closest burger joint, laughing the entire way. I’m sure your mind is picturing things like shots of wheatgrass or a plate of cucumbers and carrots, but there is more to the essence of raw vegan food than juices and crudites. Raw Vegan defined: Pure Food & Wine’s
menu is entirely plant based and does not use any processed ingredients. Nothing is heated above approximately 118 degrees in order to preserve vitamins, minerals, and enzymes. But while there is a certain science behind this way of life, the essence of Pure Food & Wines food is elegant, complex and intriguing from start to finish.
Let’s start with the niwa maki of avocado, enoki mushrooms, pickled heirloom baby carrots with asparagus, mango, scallions, spicy aioli. The presentation is as beautiful as any roll I was lucky to order in Tokyo and the range of flavors and textures provided the perfect wrapped package of, well, raw ingredients.
And then there was the hazelnut crostinis with crimini mushrooms and caper bearnaise with caraway sauerkraut, local apple cider reduction. Um, yes. I can’t even explain how they created something so creamy, with no actual cream. But when you take a bite, the crunchy nuttiness of the crostini, topped with the earthy, pickly and slightly sweet scoop of mysteriously raw and vegan goodness is just pure good food in its unsimplest, simple form.
I could have stopped there and felt like one lucky duck, but for an entree I ordered up the pad thai with kelp noodles, baby bok choy, snow peas, king oyster mushrooms, tamarind sauce, sesame salted cashews, cilantro oil. All good things. All together. Pure. Raw. And Outstanding. The flavors are so refreshing and with so much depth, I would venture to say if someone took you there and never told you what kind of restaurant this is, you would never know the difference. And not to be outdone by the food menu, Pure’s bar ranges from organic and biodynamic wines to seasonal sake cocktails.
The Skim: Or should I say, the skinny. If you’re truly a New York foodie, then you can’t stop at visiting the best steak house, burger joint or lobster shack. You must pay a visit to the purely good Pure Food & Wine and see what it means to combine raw vegan food with haute cuisine. I’ll tell you one thing, you’ll feel great when you get up from the table, no matter how many of those crostini you take down.
Christina is an unapologetic carnivore, but knows a good thing when she tastes it — whether it’s raw steak tartar or raw pad thai made of kelp.