Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Pure Food and Wine/Pure Juice and Takeaway

Pure Food and Wine - 54 Irving Place (between 17th/18th Street)
Pure Juice and Takeaway - 126 East 17th Street (3rd Avenue/Irving Place)
A gourmet establishment dedicated to raw vegan cuisine, featuring specialty dishes such as spicy thai lettuce wraps, chanterelle/kalamata raviolis, and white corn tamales....all prepared at temperatures under 118 degrees. Desserts are on the menu, too, with options such as ice cream and caramel bars... items that you'd think couldn't be done without dairy, let alone without cooking. While reviews for Pure seem to be hit or miss, my choices for the evening succeeded on all levels. One of their flagship recipes--the lasagna--was especially intruiging, made from a blend of sliced zucchini, tomato and pinoli pesto. While far from true pasta, the dish was complex and rich - quite tasty by its own standards. (Not bad, for something which was basically a salad!) The chocolate tart was equally delicious with a rich, creamy and sinfully dark flavor - proof that raw cuisine can be extremely well done.

In keeping with the gourmet ethos, portions at Pure are modest (okay, they're small.) And with appetizers, entrees and desserts running into the double digits, the experience doesn't come cheap. While less formal, the takeaway boutique is equally expensive, though a little less intimidating for the "common man". But the taste is definitely worth trying once - at least, I was glad that I did.

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