Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Blossom

We went to Blossom for lunch on Saturday. Blossom is located in the Chelsea area of Manhattan at 187 9th Ave between 21st and 22nd. Note that some of the items we ordered for lunch are also on the dinner menu, but the dinner versions of these dishes might be slightly different.

Satay
The Satay is definitely a contender for the best appetizer. The seitan was grilled to perfection; it was juicy, tender, and had delicious deep-charred bits. The sauce was a rich curry and worked especially well with the super-hot chili sauce on the side. Speaking of the super-hot chili sauce, it tasted like the most perfect, sweet, fresh, red pepper you’ve ever had only liquified and made really fiery. So yum! But the highlight of the dish, for me, were the noodles. The noodles were soft, chewy, delicate, and drenched in the most delicious sauce that tasted just like coconut curry. There is no way any description I write can do justice to it but know this: if I had to swim through a pile of these saucy noodles with my mouth open, yes I would drown, but I would die happy. Thankfully there are no villains forcing me to do such a thing and I can just order this every time I go to Blossom. You should too. -Ev
I agree that this was a totally bitchin' appetizer. The combination of creamy peanut sauce and smokey, grilled flavor made the skewered seitan really mouthwatering. It was tender but not too tender, and the pieces were small enough that I didn’t get the sense of rubberyness that can be a problem sometimes in huge chunks of seitan. The sesame noodles were fantastic too. They were creamy and tasty and they had some scallions mixed in to give them some bite. -Jim

Black-eyed Pea Cake
This tasty appetizer was a fried cake of yukon gold potato & black eyed peas. It had a very indian flavor to it which was contrasted by the tangy sauce underneath. The texture was great as it was crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. -Jim
A comforting dish with flavors made even comfier by the chipotle aioli (a.k.a. creamy mayo-like substance). This dish would be perfect at Thanksgiving dinner because it’s really heavy and starchy and savory. –Ev

South Asian Lumpia
This dish was excellent. The outside was so flaky and tender, like the batter of a mozzarella stick. Inside was more like a good samosa. The textures and flavors were all very smooth and comforting but then the mustard and the mango salsa cut in and perked things up. It was like a party in my mouth! Wouldn’t you like to eat a party? -Ev
I can’t help but compare this dish to the Pea Cake. The consistency and flavor was similar in many ways. Texture-wise, this dish had a crispier outside, and the textures of the filling ingredients were more pronounced. Flavor-wise, this dish was slightly less curry-ish and I swore I tasted a fishyness to it, like they had used sea weed in making it. Evelyn and my brother and sister-in-law (who we were lunching with) said they didn’t notice the fishyness, so maybe I was just hallucinating. The lumpia were served with mustard and a mango salsa, which gave the dish a tang and sweetness that worked well. –jim

Tofu Basil Polenta Mini-Tower
This attractively plated meal consisted of a layer of polenta upon which was stacked a layer of tofu upon which was stacked a layer of basil polenta. The tower sat in puttanesca sauce and there was some more sauce up on the top. The sauce was my favorite part as it was very olivey and capery (which I’m a fan of) with just a touch of spicyness. My only complaint about this dish was the lack of variety, both in texture and flavor. The tower had a pretty consistent texture despite it’s three separate layers. It didn’t have have much flavor so it basically served as a vehicle for the sauce. One small saving grace was the beans, which I eschewed at first thinking them to be just plain steamed string beans, but it turned out they were warm , crisp and a little bit salty and oily. Overall, this was a good dish but it wasn’t perfect. -Jim
This was really delicious. The olives in the sauce packed a real punch and made the basic fresh tomato sauce into something rich and intense. It reminded me of my grandma’s sauce. The polenta was very mellow and I found the tofu surprisingly ricotta cheese-like. -Ev

Seitan Medallions
I’m a big fan of the seitan at Blossom and this dish is a goodie but the other players in this dish are equally important. The broccoli rabe was delicious- not too bitter and cooked just right. The caper sauce was INCREDIBLE- thin with a ton of salty/savory flavor. And the mellow polenta was my favorite part. Polenta always throws me off because I expect to be eating mashed potatoes or couscous, but it’s really just so smooth and relaxing to taste. When paired with the caper sauce, I even liked it better than the seitan. -Ev
This was good. The only issue for me was that the seitan pieces were on the large side, so they didn’t absorb as much flavor from the sauce as they could have and a very slight rubbery consistency was noticeable. -Jim

Pineapple Crepe with Coconut Infusion & Vanilla Ice Cream
Terry & Erica (yay PPK!) & I were fortunate enough to try this earlier in the week. Considering the three of us were licking the plates and came short of mounting them in a fit of oral ecstasy, it’s not surprising that I ordered this again. The crepes were small and thin and filled with teeny tiny chunks of grilled pineapple. Resting on top was a perfect little dollop of vanilla ice cream. But underneath it all was the coconut infusion and two little dots of super-flavored pineapple syrup. The combination of all the textures and temperatures and flavors got my whole mouth involved; every little tastebud had something to savor and comment on. The coconut sauce was hot and silky and a little salty. The crepes were tender and chewy. The soft pineapple was both sweet and savory. The ice cream was so cold and creamy and smooth. And that sneaky pineapple syrup was rich and tart. I’ve joked around about the term mouthgasm before, but here it was really true. Especially following so many other delicious courses. -Ev

Chocolate Ganache Torte
Wow. Chocolate overload. It was like they took a cake with a decadently thick frosting and they switched the frosting-to-cake ratio. So there was a thin layer of cake on the bottom and a huge, ridiculously rich layer of frosting on top. But the word “frosting” doesn’t really do it justice. Eating this dessert was basically like eating a big truffle with a fork. And, just in case you need more chocolate, there’s chocolate ice cream. This dessert was delicious but HEAVY, so if you’re full from dinner, this might not be the dessert for you. -Jim

The Bottom Line
I’ve heard it said that Blossom is good but not quite worth the money (it is on the expensive side with lunch entrée prices in the low teens and dinner entrée prices in the high teens). Personally, I think there are other vegan NYC restaurants in this price range that are a little better, but I wouldn’t write Blossom off completely. They have some pretty unique dishes and I think that many of them are worth the price. My entrée wasn’t extraordinary, but I enjoyed the appetizers and desserts and I’m sure this isn’t the last time I’ll be eating at Blossom. –Jim
A fantastic meal. Not only did the flavors of the dishes match well in and of themselves, but the courses also worked nicely together. Blossom=awesome. -Ev

5 Comments:

Anonymous Isa said...

I've long suspected that jimb suffers from oceania praecox. If you don't know what that means it's because I just made it up and it is referring to his paranoia that there is fish sauce in something when there really isn't.

I really like Blossom but their prices make me too anxious to enjoy the food as much as I should. It's weird, because I don't feel that way about Candle 79. Maybe because it is so bright in there and all I can think is that I am eating one tenth of my rent money. They should dim the lights.

Everything I've had there has been really yummy, though, and I am usually a month late with rent anyway. Could this comment be longer? I am setting up a microblog in your blog.

1:43 PM, June 20, 2006

 
Anonymous al said...

i didn't like anything there, but i'm a picky eater. oh except dessert. except it was small. my omnivorous eating companions (i call them mom and dad) liked their food though. and oscar, who will eat pretty much anything as long as it's vegan, enjoyed his meal too. but he was upset that the lumpia didn't resemble his mother's filipino version at all.

4:48 PM, June 20, 2006

 
Anonymous Krista said...

Krista Says:

I love Blossom. I have since the day they opened their doors. I really don't know what anyone is talking about who has commented here. Maybe people who have commented aren't used to going to upscale restaurants, which is what Blossom is. They have the BEST vegan food in New York City by far. Everyone should experience this restaurant for dinner. The seitan dishes are exceptional, no one makes seitan like they do. The flavors of the vegetables are so vibrant and delicious as well. The organic wine list complements the menu perectly. The restaurant is romantic and beautiful, not like most of the vegan restaurants in this city. Try the Savory Seitan with herbed potatoes and haricot vert, or the Porcini Filet with mashed potatoes and sauteed spinach. All of the app's are great. For dessert, the Maple Cream Tart or the Apple Crepe served with a brandy-caramel sauce are my favorites.
I must say that I don't understand the two vegans who created this site. In their review of Blossom they reviewed a number of dishes and said they loved everything, but then when they summed up, didn't give a very positive note. What's that all about? People, trust me, if you've got taste and class, for a divine dining experience Blossom is the place to go!

4:56 PM, August 31, 2006

 
Blogger veganfriendly said...

Thanks for writing, Krista. We are indeed fans of Blossom. Like I said in my bottom line, I had a fantastic meal and Blossom=awesome. -Ev

7:15 PM, September 02, 2006

 
Blogger <[(-_-)]> said...

I too made a meal of the grilled seitan skewers w/ noodles and the chocolate double whammy in March. Although I couldn't eat for the rest of that day, I haven't stopped thinking about how to get back NYC in order to check it out again. Chicago just doesn't have vegan restaurants of this caliber.

5:32 PM, May 22, 2007

 

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