Dirt Candy, NYC

by JL Fields on December 15, 2011

Finally!  After two years of tweeting I finally met Ethan this week! He and his hubby Michael met me and my hubby Dave at Dirt Candy on the lower east side in NYC. It was love at first sight. Truly.  We can’t wait to see them again (we’re thinking a vacation in Cancun….anyway…)

I heard about Dirt Candy from my friends Fran and Sharon. Actually, they invited me to join them there for dinner last month but I had to work.

I became obsessed with dining there.

I am now obsessed with returning.  Often.

Dirt Candy is teeny tiny. I mean it.  I received a phone call the day before to confirm the reservation but to also stress that all four in the party must arrive on time.  I get it.  Just about the time they were ready to turn our table over for the next party I realized the next party had nowhere to stand but outside!  It’s that tiny. Part of its charm, I tell ya.

The wine list is lovely.  I described the type of red wine I enjoy (spicy) and the server suggested the Armador Carmenère 2010.  She was spot on.

Let’s talk food. Dirt Candy is a vegetarian restaurant.

What is dirt candy? Vegetables, of course. When you eat a vegetable you’re eating little more than dirt that’s been transformed by plenty of sunshine and rain into something that’s full of flavor: Dirt Candy.

They can make almost every single dish vegan, at the diner’s request.

To start, Ethan and I split these

Jalapeno Hush Puppies served with maple butter

and Dave and I split these

Carrot: steamed barbecue carrot buns, cucumber & sesame ginger salad

Both starters were fantastic!  The maple “butter”?  I wanted to eat it with a spoon.

Each appetizer and entree is named after a vegetable. I went with Cauliflower for dinner.

Cauliflower: buttermilk battered cauliflower, waffles, horseradish, wild arugula

Friends, if for no other reason, go to Dirt Candy for this dish!  The waffle was incredible and I loved both the fried and pickled cauliflower!

We couldn’t pass up dessert.  Ethan, Michael and I ordered pudding.

Popcorn Pudding with salted caramel corn

The blurry photo doesn’t do it justice. I wanted to dip my finger into that jar to scrape out every last bit of pudding.  I should note that Dave ordered the Eggplant Tiramisu with Rosemary Cotton Candy for dessert–the only item on the entire menu that could not be made vegan.  He loved it. The server gave him extra rosemary cotton candy, which is vegan, so that we three vegans could all nibble on it. So. Good.

It was one of those magical nights. Making new friends and sharing delicious food.  I’m a lucky girl!

Dirt Candy on Urbanspoon

  • veganlisa

    I’ve been waiting for a fabulous blogger to visit Dirt Candy. It has been on my list for awhile now. I’m so glad you had a wonderful evening. When I come to visit you in NYC we must go there together! I know they have a cookbook in the works too.

  • veganlisa

    I’ve been waiting for a fabulous blogger to visit Dirt Candy. It has been on my list for awhile now. I’m so glad you had a wonderful evening. When I come to visit you in NYC we must go there together! I know they have a cookbook in the works too.

  • Those steamed carrot buns look delish! Can’t wait to get back to NYC to try out these amazing veg restaurants you write about!

  • Wow, this sounds so good. I’m headed to NYC in February and this will be first on my list of places to try!

  • I’ve heard several good reviews of Dirt Candy but have yet to go. Chef and Owner Amanda Cohen’s mockery of vegans and her disparagement

    of other establishment’s vegetarian food uphold the distaste I have for this place. In such a Vegan Mecca as NYC, I find little reason to fork over my money to someone so blatantly alienating. Then again, it’s not Outback; maybe people change. Your meal does sound sublime and I love that you shared good food with new good friends. Sounds like a lovely time. I’m trying to keep an open mind about the restaurant.

    • JL

      Wow, Laura, I had not heard any of that about the chef! I think the only thing I know about her is that she studied at the Natural Gourmet Institute (where I take public classes). Hmm, I’ll have to look in to it. I must say, though, that it’s clear they know vegans dine there because the server was the first one to bring up that any item on the menu could be make vegan.

  • Bianca

    Popcorn pudding?! Wow. Just one more restaurant to add the ever-growing list of places I must eat when finally make it to NYC one of these days!

  • Francostigan

    Yes, we ate all that and more. The kale (plate) was beyond. Mushroom. And every dessert other than the one that cannot be veganized. Isn’t it just amazing how zen, efficient the cooking. Not a wasted motion and not a raised voice (or any for that matter.) I assume you met Chef Amanda. She is always there. Bravo!! I too am eager to return-often.

    • JL

      I didn’t meet the Chef! I wish we had…

  • I have always wanted to eat at Dirt Candy! Note to self: add to vegan NYC bucket list 🙂

  • OMGGGGGGGG I wish I had known about this place when I was in NYC! I want everything you ordered so badly, espec the hush puppies! So jealous JL!

  • urbanvegan

    Holy heck, that looks good! Love the name, too.

  • I saw this restaurant on The Cooking Channel when they did a vegan special. I was all excited to read about it because I’m going to be in NYC for a week (without my kids! for the National Stationery Show) in May and I’m already lining up in my head where I am going to be having all of my dinners. But to be totally honest, that food looks to rich for me. I know it tasted great, but did you feel okay afterwards? What are the top 5 NYC vegan restaurants that I should be making reservations at?

    • JL

      I hope I get to meet you when you’re in NYC!  My top 5:
      1. Candle 79
      2. Pure Food and Wine
      3. Blossom
      4.  Dirt Candy
      5.  Hangawi (vegan Korean) or Candle Cafe or Franchia (vegan teahouse, same owners as Hangawi)

      I really didn’t feel like the food at Dirt Candy was rich and I felt fine after. They portions are reasonable (not overboard but not tiny) so that might have helped?

      • thank you JL!!!!! You have helped me tremendously!

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