Friday, July 07, 2006

Quintessence

We checked out Quintessence at 263 East 10th St between 1st Ave and Ave A in Manhattan. Quintessence is 100% vegan, raw and organic.

Pizza Crackers
This appetizer was my favorite part of the meal. The base was indeed cracker-like, presumably consisting of nuts and/or grains. The next layer up was some creamy white stuff which didn’t taste like cheese, but it did serve the purpose of cheese with a strong, sharp taste that contrasted the flavors of the other layers. The layer above that was a rich tomato-based sauce that had a spicy flavor almost reminiscent of sausage. On top of that was some parsley and (I think) some dried red onion. This was a great, well-constructed appetizer. The flavors in this dish really came together to create something delicious -Jim

California Pizza
This had a softer version of the crust used in the appetizer. However, this time it was topped with avocado, sprouts, yellow peppers, caramelized onions, pesto, ricotta cheese and sour cream. This dish was very cool, crisp, and creamy. The caramelized onions were fantastic and provided a smoky sweetness. The pesto was also delicious. The sour cream was intriguing because I couldn't figure out what they used for it. Oh well. Whatever it was, it was really yummy. I would have preferred these same toppings on an actual pizza crust, but overall this dish was good. -Ev

Spinach Gnocchi with Pasta
If you look at the picture of this dish, your first thought might be, “That looks kind of weird”. That was my first reaction. On top of the creamy pasta sat 5 mysterious black lumps. But, being the courageous eater that I am, I dived in. Did my bravery pay off with deliciousness? Not exactly. The lumps had a strong flavor and a very mushy texture that didn’t quite suit me. They seemed to consist mostly of spinach and avocado, but there was a bitterness to them that overpowered the flavors of the main ingredients. I found they were best when cut up into small pieces and eaten with the pasta. The pasta, by the way, was decent. It wasn’t so much pasta as it was soft strips of squash (I assume real pasta can’t be made raw) and covered in a very creamy, rich sauce. I had mixed feelings about this dish. I wouldn’t say this was bad, but I wouldn’t recommend it to a friend either. -Jim

Dessert Sampler
When you order the dessert sampler, you get to choose 4 of their 5 dessert options. I assume the servings of each are smaller than what you’d get if you ordered it alone, but I’m not sure of that. We got the Strawberry Ice Cream, the Pumpkin Pie, the Banana Cream Pie and the Tiramisu. My favorites were the Banana Cream and Pumpkin Pie. Both were very sweet and yummy. The Ice Cream was ok but the texture was almost more like Italian Ice than ice cream. I thought the Tiramisu was very bitter and didn’t actually enjoy it at all. -Jim
The Pumpkin Pie was OK. The pumpkin had great flavor, but the crust had a mysterious bitterness to it. This has happened before with Raweos, so maybe my body is off balance. Or something. The Banana Coconut Cream Pie was so YUM! It was the best of the four - smooth, creamy, delicious and the crust was perfect. The Strawberry Ice Cream was more like a sorbet but it had intense strawberry flavor. The Tiramisu was better after the second or third bite. The coffee flavor was very strong, but mellowed after time. -Ev

The Bottom Line
Overall, I’d say our first Quintessence experience was good, with a little weirdness here and there. One thing we noticed was that the menu was rather limited. There were maybe five or six entrée choices, and then four or five pizzas to choose from. If you’re not in the mood for a pizza, this could be a problem. My entrée wasn’t great, but I’d go back and try something else here. I should also note that this is another pricy-ish restaurant (we’ve been going to too many of those lately), so be prepared to pay a few extra bucks for the organicness and the rawness. -Jim
It's been a few days now and I still don't know how I feel about this dinner. Everything tasted good, the presentation was beautiful, I was definitely full afterwards, but still it's hard to pinpoint why I wasn't blown away. I guess I was expecting some kind of loud, raw, revolutionary moment where I would be converted to eating like this all the time. This experience was very simple and gentle and worth a second visit. -Ev

7 Comments:

Anonymous mums blix said...

So not good. Don't like this place at all. Everything on the menu is like, "Wild mushroom this, bed of almonds that," and then they bring out your order of flavorless mush with a side of mush. It's like nothing so much as a vegan took a dump on your plate.

11:03 PM, July 10, 2006

 
Anonymous Paula said...

can i pay you guys to take me on a vegan tour of NYC? ok, how about if i don't pay you, but you just do it out of the goodness of your hearts. what i'm saying is, hang out with me in New York and tell me where to eat food please.

P.S. this blog is really nice, for serious.

11:10 PM, July 10, 2006

 
Blogger veganfriendly said...

Mumby: I think I can understand why one might hate this place. So far I don't hate it but I didn't love it either. I don't think we got anything that was flavorless, we just got a few things (the pasta and the tiramisu) with flavors that were weren't so great.

Paula: we will totally hang out with you and tell you where to eat. Also, we will totally make you pay us and our prices are really steep so start saving now.

-Jim

12:50 AM, July 11, 2006

 
Anonymous Eppy said...

You folks make me interested in raw foods in a way Raweos never could.

The price has the opposite effect, but at least I'm raw-curious now.

10:00 AM, July 11, 2006

 
Blogger veganfriendly said...

paula, don't listen to jim- our prices are very reasonable. we even have a low-interest financing plan. just kidding! of course we'll hang out (and eat) with you!

-Ev

10:52 PM, July 11, 2006

 
Anonymous Ryan said...

Did anyone flash you while you were eating?

(Sorry, I couldn't resist. :) )

2:17 PM, July 12, 2006

 
Anonymous terry said...

wait...that's not coconut cream!

It's been years since I ate here, but I do recall kind of enjoying it. Regular old pecan pie I find an overwhelming sugar bomb, but the Quintessence rawish version is sublime, rich, satisfying and nuttastic. Without ending my meal with a slice of this I 'm sure that I'd be hungry an hour later.

Definitely the price to feeling satisfied ratio isn't the best, but it is "healthy" feeling and whatever I ate there was well seasoned and tasty.

5:03 PM, July 12, 2006

 

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