Candle Cafe West
-A Monthly Column By Joshua Wanger, Featuring NYC Restaurant Reviews-
Start the new year off right by making a reservation at this stellar vegan restaurant! Sure to please any guest, be they vegan or otherwise, the all-organic menu presents several enjoyable dishes comprised of socially and environmentally responsible ingredients. Executive Chef Angel Ramos, who worked at the original Candle Cafe and Candle 79 (both on the Upper East Side), has continued to refine and master the techniques of organic vegan cooking, blending textures and international flavors to sate any palate.
The restaurant layout provides ample seating without ever feeling crowded. Diners will relax in the warm, cheerful environment whether they are cozied up to the bar or celebrating with a larger party at a table.
To start, order any of the fresh (and refreshing), house-made juices, smoothies, or sodas. The staff can guide you through the drinks, offering you helpful suggestions based on your preferences. Next, consider ordering several appetizers to share with your party. The famous mezze plate comes with hummus, baba ganoush, tabouli, lemon-date chutney, olives, zaatar, Parata bread, and crudité and is great for sharing. The candle nachos also divide nicely among a larger party and start the meal off with great flavor.
For the main course, try any of the fantastic Farmers’ Market Entrées. Favorites include the pomegranate chipotle grilled tempeh and the live lasagna. A slightly sweet and spicy dish, the grilled tempeh is paired with sweet potato purée, Brussels sprouts, leeks, mole sauce, and a fennel–apple salad. The live lasagna offers the best of the garden: Fresh heirloom tomatoes, zucchini, and wild mushrooms are sliced and layered with cashew cheese, kale–pine nut pesto, and a balsamic–black pepper reduction, creating a dish both aesthetically beautiful and delicious.
If you manage to save room for dessert, check out Candle’s seasonal dessert menu. The Almond Joy pie is a sure bet, but the live pear tart, offering a lighter finish to the meal, also deserves consideration. Enjoy the subtle sweetness of the tart and spicy ginger ice cream with a French Connection, a lovely, orangey coffee cocktail.
Candle Cafe West is the very welcome upscale vegan restaurant the Upper West Side needs: Bring a date or a whole party for a special occasion or just for a night out. If you want to stay in, the restaurant also offers delivery and take-out.
Post photo courtesy of http://taliafuhrman.com