Admittedly, I haven't gone to Quintessence in my eating journeys in NYC because it is a raw restaurant. However, this place makes raw look and taste good, really good. Raw food has a new face - it is not just salads and fruit, it is what this mainstay in the raw vegan NYC scene dishes up artfully, affordably and compassionately. If you have never given raw a run, go here. If you are a raw foodie, you have been here or you will go here and be happy, very happy.
The prices do not seem high for what they offer. The portions do not seem small for what they offer. The food is fresh, organic and raw. That means the cost they have is high, but, amazingly, they don't kill your wallet for that. In fact, I would say it's a steal. The portions are also perfectly sized unless you eat 4000 calories a day, meaning eating is your other job. The ingredients they use are packed with nutrients and the nut and coconut bases provide some hearty calories. So, you will not leave hungry. However, you will also not leave with that "oh, I ate too much, gross, what did I do" feeling. You will leave perfectly happy.
Everyone loves brunch, and I love that they have brunch all weekend. Their creative offerings from the fake tofu (aka fofu) to "bread," are impressive and satisfying to the palate. Just about every raw foodie loves avocados, and I am happy to say they bring avocados into their menu with good success. They also have a good base of nuts and seeds to make their sauces and "breads"/ bases like the nachos, pizza-like offering and "sandwiches." Traditionalists will rest easily with a hearty salad or a romaine-wrapped entree or a nori-wrapped rice-free sushi roll. Ok, maybe that's not super traditional, but it's super tasty.
They make it all raw, except, they do have cooked quinoa... which, is okay, but, I might suggest going for raw sprouted? No matter, raw foodies can eat just about everything here without reservations. Vegans can eat everything. Gluten-free concerned can also eat just about everything.
Really the selling points here for me are the brunch and the dessert offerings. Oh my, the dessert. They have berries, chocolate and coconut, not necessarily all together. Raspberry chocolate? Tiramisu? Coconut creme? Chocolate chia? Chocolate mousse in a coconut cup? Drool-worthy offerings that if you know anything about the ingredients, are very fairly priced.
Final selling point for the 5 cows for this place: the staff is happy and informed.
Cons: Not 100% gluten free, Menu is too large - me want all., Too far from where I live...