Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A Magical Night At Quintessence

Visiting New York is like a trip to Disney World. There are endless vegan options, each one offering a unique experience. On my recent trip to NYC, I made sure to dine at some of the best restaurants. However, since I was only there for 2 days, I wasn't able to get the full dining experience. Still, I enjoyed all of the food I had and left with a happy stomach. The food in NYC is very expensive, due to the high cost of real estate. Luckily, a wonderful raw restaurant in the East Village called Quintessence had a Groupon deal for $20 for $40 worth of food and drink. We headed there on my second night in the city.

First, we started out with an appetizer. We opted for the Hand Roll Combo ($12).

We all loved this dish. My sister and her boyfriend, who are both omnivores, thought this was very reminiscent of their beloved sushi and really hit the spot. The nori roll had a fishy flavor, while the interior was very creamy and had a nutty, cheesy taste. It was moderately spicy and had a tangy flavor. The vegetables were crunchy and accompanied the faux fish very well.

Next, I had a salad that came with my entree.

The greens salad was very good. The lettuce was crispy and tasted very fresh. The greens were coated in a creamy miso tahini dressing, which was slightly tangy.

Next, I had the Ravioli Combo with Primavera Pasta ($17).

Half of the raviolis were filled with sun-dried tomato basil, while the other half were filled with "cheese". I didn't really like the sun-dried tomato basil filling as it was too tart and had an odd consistency. I enjoyed the "cheese" filling, as it had a wonderful nutty flavor and was very light and creamy. The pasta was pretty good, although some pieces were too crunchy and difficult to chew. The sauces were magnificent. I really liked the pesto sauce, which had a lovely garlicky taste. The marinara sauce was also good, as the tomatoes were very succulent.

Next, I tried some of my sister and boyfriends' dishes. Both ordered the Mexican Platter ($23).

This dish was fantastic. I was jealous that I didn't order this myself, as I wanted to eat the whole thing. My favorite was the enchilada, which was filled with a scrumptious concoction of "refried beans", "cheese", lettuce and tomatoes". The cheese was very creamy, while the beans had a more savory taste. The mole sauce really took it over the top and added a subtle sweetness. The tostada was also very good, but tasted similar to the enchilada. The guacamole topping was wonderfully rich and flavorful and complimented the juicy nut meat perfectly.

Overall, the meal was fabulous. I think the ravioli dish could be improved significantly, but the other dishes were phenomenal, especially the hand rolls. Since we headed to Lula's Apothecary for dessert, we weren't able to try any of the enticing options, but I'm sure they are great. I would definitely eat at Quintessence again for a light yet filling dinner. The food helped me feel more energized and enabled me to make it through the rest of the night in the city that never sleeps.

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