Enlightening Intro to Vegan Cuisine at Blossom on Columbus

Enlightening Intro to Vegan Cuisine at Blossom on Columbus

I’ve noticed over the years that dietary veganism seems to (undeservedly) get a bad rap. Why? Well, it’s hard to say exactly, but I think for a lot of folks the negative outlook can simply be chalked up to a lack of knowledge. By loose definition, those that opt for a vegan diet refrain from consuming meat, eggs, dairy products and other animal-derived substances. Here is where the misconception might come in to play for a few of you, so let me try to shed some light: Actively avoiding animal products doesn’t mean you are confined to a boring (and crushingly restrictive) diet of lettuce, berries, seeds and anything else a woodland creature might forge for in the forest. I learned just how approachable, varied and tasty vegan cuisine can be on a recent trip to Blossom on Columbus. 

The organic vegan restaurant opened up shop on the Upper West Side back in October and offers a chic, yet casual, atmosphere—complete with alabaster-hued elements and dark wood accents, a snazzy bar that seats 14 and an ample dining area that can accommodate 90—to enjoy a wide variety of animal-friendly delights. Some menu items can best be described as the vegan versions of tried-and-true comfort food (think Nachos, with tapioca cheese and tofu sour cream; ‘Meatballs’ & Escarole, with lima beans and marinara sauce; Fettuccini Alfredo, with shiitake mushrooms, spinach, garlic, fresh herbs, shallots, soy parmesan, roasted cherry tomatoes and cashew cream; and the Soy Bacon Cheeseburger—a big hit with diners—made with grilled mushrooms, tapioca cheddar, soy bacon, caramelized onions, lettuce, tomato and chipotle aioli). Of course, the menu also includes more adventurous fare, so, naturally, I gravitated towards those selections.

With a little help from the staff, my boyfriend and I opted for two appetizers: Mushroom Ravioli—a “must” for any truffle fans out there, and the Black Eyed Pea Cake, a surprisingly light yet flavorful fried dish with a bit of a kick, thanks to the chipotle aioli garnish. On the entrée front, this is where I jumped out of my comfort zone, opting for the Savory Seitan—a mock meat with the amusing nickname “wheat meat,” which tastes a bit like chicken—paired with roasted potatoes, haricot verts, roasted tomatoes and garlic aioli. The BF chose the Barbecue Tempeh (a soy food made from cooked and slightly fermented soybeans and formed into a patty), with Yukon potatoes, collard greens and horseradish crème fraîche. For dessert, we had the Tiramisu and Pineapple Crumble—both of which satisfied my sweet tooth and tasted surprisingly similar to their dairy-based equivalents.

So, what did I learn? In a nutshell, vegan cuisine is much better than I had anticipated. I was never saddled with any carnivorous cravings and, unlike when I eat at meat-focused restaurants, I felt full but not overly full. I could easily tell the difference from just one meal. And, I learned that many of the front-of-house wait staff share the same sentiment—with a few staffers hopping on the vegan train after working at Blossom. After my experience at the restaurant, they might have to add me to the list of the converted.  

Blossom also has locations in Chelsea and the West Village, as well as sister eatery V-Note on the Upper East Side.

 

 

 

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