On the last day of spring, my friend Roe and I dined at the famous vegan restaurant, Candle 79, tucked away on 79th street and Lexington. After hearing rave reviews from the rising musical entrepreneur, we decided to go and eat to our stomachs’ content.
And boy, did we.
First off, I had the Housemade Ginger Ale, made with fresh ginger, lemon, agave, mint, and sparkling water… I love ginger and this hit the spot. The drink was almost like a (more delicious) ginger mint mojito.
Roe had the Cherry Fresca which included cherry purée, lemon, agave, chia seeds and sparkling water… A plus about this drink was that it was not overly sweet–I (took a sip and) could totally taste the tart Montmorency cherry flavor, not the typical syrupy-sweet cherry medicinal flavor. It was really refreshing and different.
We also got an appetizer to start: the Smoked Hummus, which included grilled paratha bread (so delicious), olives, a roasted garlic bulb, and red pepper oil. I devoured the roasted garlic bulb. Roe ate the olives to her heart’s content. We were two happy campers. This appetizer was DELICIOUS! The bread was warm and flaky, and the hummus super smooth and delicately flavored with red pepper. The garlic was perfectly roasted as well.
Roe also recommends the Guacamole appetizer–“their guac here is SO GOOD!”
I got their signature dish, the Seitan Piccata: creamed spinach, grilled potato cake, oyster mushrooms, and lemon-caper sauce. This was odd, at first; capers galore and a very liquidy sauce that was challenging to eat with a fork. But somewhere along the way, all the sauce got soaked into the potatoes I believe, and the combination was really, really good. The seitan was also cooked very well and was very reminiscent of chicken cutlet–the best seitan I’ve tried.
Roe had the Burrito, which looked and was very good but too much to actually finish–it includes seitan, black beans, and brown rice and was just too much for one dish.
We also indulged in post dinner tea: I the vanilla chai, she the coconut cream. The tea came out in individual cast-iron kettles, which was really whimsical and fun. However, the tea was also piping hot and while waiting for it to cool, the tea grew extremely bitter (due to the fresh tea leaves/petals/herbs) and undrinkable.
For dessert, we devoured the Chocolate Peanut Butter Bliss, which was chocolate and peanut butter mousse, salted peanut-caramel crust, and berry coulis. The chocolate mousse part was decadent and super chocolaty–it really tasted like dairy chocolate (but was, in fact, vegan). The peanut mousse was really mild in comparison and almost undetectable. The berry coulis offered a nice flavor contrast and cut through the richness of the mousses, and the presentation was lovely.
So as you can see, we went all out (our bill was $93 before taxes!). The prices aren’t extremely high, but let’s just say Roe and I will be doing some less expensive activities in the impending summer weeks. All-in-all, every dollar was totally worth it–the food was super fresh (they use farmer’s market produce) and the service, outstanding. Vegetarians and omnivores alike will be happy and full after a meal at Candle 79.
After lunch, we went for a little stroll in Central Park and made the last bus before rush hour, just before it left. A perfect last hurrah to Spring and first early hello to Summer!
Candle 79 is located at 154 E. 79th Street, at Lexington Avenue.