Pure Food and Wine, Gramercy Park

  Image courtesy of www.timeout.com 

Image courtesy of www.timeout.com 

Pure Food and Wine features on almost every health-junkie’s “must-visit” restaurants while in New York. New York’s original raw vegan restaurant has now blossomed into a burgeoning business of not only the restaurant, but its offshoots which encompass the restaurant’s juice bar and One Lucky Duck in Chelsea Market.

The premise of Pure Food and Wine is simple – it offers the tastiest raw, vegan food around. Sound interested? It certainly is. Don’t let the raw factor (or the vegan factor for that matter) turn you off though. The menu offers many traditional favourites and presents them in a new, healthier and cleaner version.

The signature dish here is the zucchini and heirloom tomato lasanga. Although this may read as a light dish, don’t be fooled. The meal comprises mostly of nuts, including the pistachios in the pesto, and the macadamia and pumpkin seeds that make up the “cheese”. This dish will fill you up in a matter of mouthfuls – something to keep in mind when ordering from the remainder of the menu, which is also very nut heavy.

If you are on the hunt for a lighter option, try the curried vegetables with sprouted quinoa poppadom. The vegetables are presently in a petite fashion and are delicately flavoured. Accompanying the mainly cauliflower based vegetables are three dipped sauces, each with a distinct and fresh flavour. The quinoa poppadom is a taste sensation, and is much preferred to the traditional, starch-filled variety.

The atmosphere here is laid back and calm. The wait staff seem to wear the raw vegan badge with pride, and all seem to heavily believe in the principles that underlie this restaurant. An intimate back garden area provides additional outdoor dining space for when the weather permits. The greenery in the garden isn’t lost on the overall vibe, and adds to the sensation of peace, clarity and relaxation that surrounds the restaurant.

Foodies will love it here, as will anyone who is curious about raw foods or who just wants to try something different. Being raw, all food is served cold, so keep this in mind when perusing the menu. This definitely doesn’t detract from the flavours in the dishes however, although a comment from a fellow diner suggested her food was heavily salted.

All in all, this is a great spot to try something new and a must-see for anyone with half an interest in healthy eating.

Recommended: Squash blossoms filled with picholine olive cheese; Hen of the woods tacos al pastor; curried vegetables with sprouted quinoa poppadom.

Price: $$

Pure Food and Wine

54 Irving Place, New York, NY 10013 (Gramercy Park)