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Dirt Candy

  • Vegetarian Vegetarian
    ( 15 reviews )
Contact 212-228-7732
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86 Allen St, New York City, New York, USA, 10002

Re-opened here in early-2015. Serves original and experimental dishes in a trendy, fine atmosphere. Tue-Sat 5:30pm-11:00pm

Category: Vegan-friendly, Lacto, Ovo, American, Western, Beer/Wine

Reviews (15)

First Review by nitekrawler527

Creative food, if a bit lackluster - Edit

We went for brunch last time we visited NYC. It was honestly more of a 3.5 experience. I love the spaciousness and brightness of their new location, though I don't love the new spot. It's a bit deep into the Lower East Side. We were seated without a reservation - unheard of at the old, smaller Dirt Candy location in the East Village. Service was friendly and attentive. We thought brunch food prices were very reasonable, however, cocktails were borderline outrageously priced. A brunch drink shouldn't be the same price as food. We decided to forego cocktails and just split a few dishes. We ordered:

- Zucchini Pancakes (for sweet) - These were about 7 or so silver dollar pancakes, dusted with powdered sugar. They were fun, but almost more snack-sized. They had good flavor and certainly no overwhelming zucchini scent. However, they felt a bit oiled/fried, which seems unnecessary with pancakes.

- The Greens Sandwich (for savory) - This was a very large sandwich, which is a plus, especially considering the size of the pancakes. It mostly tasted like salad on bread to me though. My fiancé liked it a lot though (he did layer on a fair bit of hot sauce though).

We were still a bit hungry (and were trying to stretch this meal for breakfast and lunch), so we ordered the carrot granola too.

- Carrot Granola - This was a thick labneh yogurt with carrot marmalade and super crunchy granola. Again, not a massive serving size, but the perfect thing to top us off. The marmalade had a good tang to it, though this, like a few other dishes at Dirt Candy, was almost too inventive, if that's a thing. Sometimes a chef can still be inventive without going soo far out of the box, and it seems like sometimes Dirt Candy is quite far out. Still, food is generally good.

We may go back next time we're in NYC, but considering there are so many other restaurants we love there, we wouldn't run back.


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Dirt Candy, plays beautifully with flavours ... - Edit

We had an exemplary experience! The staff was efficient, attentive, and informative. I love to know the details of the earthly delights that will be nourishing my body and soul. As a vegan lover of food; Dirt Candy filled that yearning for a devine dining experience. The medley of flavours danced and melded together, complimenting each other in delightful pairings. From start to finish; Dirt Candy provided a respite from the "at times" mundane experience of vegan dining.


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Fantastic - and 96% on menu vegan - Edit

Party of 4, wife and 2 teenagers, picked 8 dishes and tried to pick top 3 after enjoying a great dinner. We came to a consensus that the eggplant was not well balanced (too heavy, too spicy/hot) but the rest was awesome! Not cheap, but rather have a memory for long and see it a a great memory on a vacation (spent a week in NYc) and it will most def be the best meal on this trip (one day left, might change ;). We will recommended this to our friends, and I will recommend it to you all too. Friendly staff and great drinks too :)


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Creative vegetarian - Edit

I really loved our meal here. The menu changes based on season and we went in early summer. The food was very inventive and excellent. The dishes are all small and our waiter explained they are for sharing so you should get several dishes each. I was expecting this to be a fine dining experience so I wasn't surprised by the bill (large) or the portion sizes (small). Our wait staff were lovely and gave great suggestions. I'd definitely return if I was planning a special occasion dinner or night out.

Pros: great food, friendly staff

Cons: expensive


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tiny portions, massive bill - Edit

A party of four dined here. The dishes all beautiful to look at, but taste-wise, were hit and miss. More misses than hits. The radish appetizer was bland and the broccoli hotdog was a stalk of broccoli in a stale bun. The cauliflower dish was also weak. The hush puppies and broccoli balls were very tasty. The portions were unbelievably small, given their expense. There is an additional mandatory 20% fee, but it is not a gratuity. This makes me wonder what it is for. Our tab, for four diners, was over $300. We all agreed we were still very hungry and needed to get pizza after we left the restaurant. My partner and I are both vegan, the other couple are omnivores. I inadvertently gave my omnivore friends a poor introduction to veganism by taking them here.

Pros: beautiful presentation

Cons: small portions, extremely expensive (even for NYC), mysterious 20% fee


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exciting vegan food - Edit

I was able to go to the original location and had a wonderful experience. We asked for help with ordering and received amazing dishes full of flavor. The chef is able to pull off something exciting, which can be rare at vegan/vegetarian restaurants. Service was great and the chef was lovely. We went back the next day to buy her cookbook after my brain was hurting trying to figure out how she made broccoli taste like a hot dog.
The new location is much bigger and the food is still an interesting mix of flavors and textures. As a group we shared the cauliflower tacos and it was our favorite. Dirt Candy is a magical treat.

Pros: food, drinks, service

Cons: can be hard to get a table


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Don't Believe the Hype - Edit

My husband and I ate at the original Dirt Candy before they moved into their larger space on Allen Street. Reservations were hard to come by, and we had waited months to secure one. We had really high expectations once we arrived, with their dishes focused on a single food, and unfortunately Dirt Candy did not live up to the hype. My husband (who is vegan) did very much enjoy his Cucumber (coconut poached tofu, shiso galangal sauce, salsify & hearts of palm), and they were able to make the Popcorn Pudding dessert vegan. However, the apps and entrees were small and the taste was nothing extraordinary - I did not like the Cauliflower dish at all. Prices are expensive, and service was rushed to have quick turnover in the tables. Maybe things have changed at the new location, though we were unimpressed with the original Dirt Candy.

Pros: Desserts

Cons: Expensive, Mediocre Food


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Inventive but not the restaurant highlight of the trip - Edit

I was really excited to go here given all the hype and how incredibly difficult it was to get a reservation! We ordered a lot of things: the Korean broccoli and jalapeño hush puppy appetizers/"snacks", the curry fries, the carrot entree and eggplant entree. Everything was really beautiful and inventive, but other than the two "snacks", I wasn't blown away by the tastes- maybe it's just a bit too fancy (eg the eggplant "mousse" did nothing for me) for my tastes :-). They also didn't seem super savvy to the whole vegan thing- maybe we just had a newer waiter, but there were a few times he brought something to the table and seems unsure whether it was vegan- once with the complimentary bread and butter, which was fine since we hadn't actually ordered that, but then again with the maple butter with the jalapeño hush puppies (which I had specifically ordered vegan). So, everyone was very nice and the idea is interesting, and I'm very happy for them that they're so busy- but I won't necessarily be rushing back myself.


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A restaurant on the rise - Edit

For its size, this is a place full of surprises, not least because we mistook the owner for a waitress. All in all the the food was fantastic and we had a thoroughly enjoyable night. As a rule of thumb, I judge a restaurant on whether I walk away with a copy of the cookbook. On this occasion I bought 3!

Dirt Candy is destined for greater things if they can find a premises more suitable to meet the demand.

Lasting memories are the rosemary candy floss.

Pros: Friendly owner, Innovative food

Cons: Very tight fit, Mushroom pate perhaps too rich for me


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Original and creative - Edit

Dirt Candy serves highly creative dishes. Each item is themed on a plant and is totally original. We had each of the four entrees: parsnip, beans, broccoli and corn, and two of the appetizers: mushroom and cabbage. The mushroom was exceptional, especially the mousse. Dessert for us were an incredible Ice Cream Nanaimo Bar (with sweet pea, mint and chocolate) and the Popcorn Pudding - very charmingly sweet. The food was intensely flavored, and uniquely done. The only drawback was that I found, to my taste, some items overly salted. All items (except the tiramisu) could be made vegan. There were a number of gluten free choices as well. Service was excellent. The space was comfortable.

Pros: creative and original, highly flavorful, excellent service

Cons: some items overly salted


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A MUST visit for any foodie!! - Edit

I'm really surprised that this place is not more popular on here, because it was hands down the best vegetarian/vegan food I've had in NYC so far. And I'm making this statement based on my previous visits to the other renowned vegan restaurants, including Blossom, Candle 79, Pure Food and Wine, Kajitsu, etc. From what I've read, the chef (Amanda Cohen) is not vegetarian herself, but she has enough guts to creative such innovative vegetarian food using no meat ingredients whatsoever, and it works out beautifully! No fake meat, no seitan, no vegan cheese, just vegetables.

Every dish we had was an excellent interplay of flavors and textures, nothing like what we've ever experienced before. Every bite really made our taste buds sing. The menu was small; some items had dairy/eggs, but we were told first thing after being seated that all items could be made vegan. The two of us started with the highly raved about jalapeño hush puppies, then shared two appetizers, two entrees, and finished with two desserts. We were totally, completely blown away by the food - the flavors, the textures, the presentation everything!! If I have to nitpick, I did find the popcorn pudding too sweet. They could have toned it down a bit and it would still be delicious.

Much like the menu, the restaurant itself was also tiny. There were probably only six or seven tables with a capacity of 20, tops. It was quite cramped, so be prepared to sit elbow to elbow. But then again, it's all about the food and it was absolutely worth it. Openings are hard to come by - you most likely won't be able to get a table without making a reservation well in advance, much less walk-ins. I simply can't wait for my next visit to NYC so I can come back again!

Pros: innovative menu, excellent food, vegan options

Cons: cramped setting, hard to get a table


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great vegan food - Edit

we recently visited New York and went to Dirt Candy for dinner.Amanda Cohen is an innovative and very tasty chef.I was with my family of meat eaters and they said that they would visit Dirt Candy again on another visit to New York.
The waitress came to our table and asked how many vegans there were at the table, because they can make everything vegan or vegetarian.
We all had something different .the onion soup was delicious my family had the vegetarian version with cheese, but my meal was totally vegan . I had the salad with the candied grapefruit pops-I had never eaten anything like it before.It was so different and tasty I was tempted to ask for more. My family shared the jalapeno hush puppies and they said the maple butter was amazing.
Golden Beet Papardelle yogurt, pistachios and honey 18.00
Crispy Tofu With Green Ragout kaffir lime beurre blanc 17.00
Asparagus Paella artichokes, morels, saffron tomato broth 16.00
Stone Ground Grits pickled shitakes and a tempura poached egg 18.00
Everything On The Menu Can Be Made Vegan On Req
everything was tasty and amazing .

Pros: tasty, different, cosy


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So, so, so good. - Edit

I had put off checking out this restaurant b/c I didn't see anything I would want to eat on the menu and then one day I decided to try it and was amazed at how good and gourmet Amanda Cohen's food is. Without a doubt, the food at dc is the refined and innovative in the city, among the best in the country, surpassed by only Millenium. The restaurant itself is small, and each dish is carefully prepared for the diner. The service is incredible. The food is out of this world. A melody of flavors, each complimenting each other... the food was both complex and comforting. I had the greek salad which is basically chopped up tasty olives, ripe tomatos, and cucumbers with a delish creamy lemon dressing and topped with fried mushrooms; the parpadelle, which were tender and topped with the freshest, sweetest beets and creamy sauce, a nice glass of cava, and this incredible ice cream sandwich desert with choocolate cookie, sweat pea (a really refeshing green taste==not unlike sencha with agave), chocolate and mint ice cream. The mint was unlike anything I ever had. Tart, fresh, a true mint. As I was eating I spied other people's food: the onion soup (which is probably good if you like onion soup, the mousse, a complex dish of vegan pate, sauteed mushrooms, bread, and chopped peaches; the tofu, expertly grilled and perfectly firm on top of a collection of green vegatables, the paella, a wonderful collection of mediterrean vegetables shaped into a cake-like mold... Unfortunately, I didn't see the grits or the other salad. The beignet, corn fritters with a kick, looked awesome, though. Can't wait to go back for more. I've been a vegan in NY since 1995, and seriously, this is the most elegant and interesting (but not fussy) vegan fine dining option there is in the city. (And I have been to Blossom and Candle 79---Dirt Candy more hip, more interesting, a better experience, and much better value). Look forward to going back and hope Amanda keeps experimenting with different foods---we can use some new direction for vegan food in the city!

Pros: excellent service, innovative, tasty, and gourmet, good value

Cons: only open for dinner, 5 days a week, small, need a reservation


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