Last night, Harold Reed, Michael DeVito and myself made the trek over to The Plant in Dumbo (It really wasn't a trek; it's easy to get there.). The Plant is Chef Matthew Kenny's new raw food venture which is described on it's web site as "a 4,000 sq. ft. commissary kitchen and cafe devoted to raw food preparation, education and distribution. ...the production hub for all the Blue Green Organic Juice Cafes...."
By day, The Plant is a busy raw food prep center with one corner carved out for raw food seeking pedestrians. Each Friday night The Plant becomes a raw organic fine dining experience. The expansive marble topped work surfaces are cleared and transformed into candle lit communal dining tables which look out through huge west facing windows towards the East River and Manhattan.
Had I had advance notice of the communal dinning arrangement, I might have felt anxious about sharing a table with strangers. However, the tables are huge, allow for plenty of intimacy and as it turned out, everyone was as "normal" as us.
Here's last night's four-course menu:
- Chocolate Chile Tacos with Arugula, pear tomatoes and pignoli sour cream
- Bitter Broccoli Ravioli with Orange Powder, cacao and pinot noir sauce
- White Corn Tamale, serrano spiced portobello, avocado and raw cacao mole
- Raspberry Sundae with Chocolate, anise syrup and ginger tuile
When I first saw the menu I felt somewhat alarmed that cacao and chocolate were incorporated into each course, but after the breakfast I had eaten, why worry further about cacao? Harold and Michael, being more cautious, requested that the cacao infused sauces be served on the side. Our server, Dana Goeglein, was terrific and even arranged for Harold and Michael to have a different second course, sans cacao-- Sesame Cashew Dumplings with sweet chile lime sauce. Dana by the way, works regularly at the Blue/Green Cafe in the new Jivamukti Yoga Center at Union Square.
At the start we were offered Pineapple Rose Sangria as well as Coconut water. Wine's not on my menu these days so I enjoyed the the free flowing Coconut water. As far as dinner went, each course was better than the previous one. The Taco and the Tamale were a little spicy but the sauces were cool and smooth and the result was a pleasant balance of opposites. The Sundae was a great finish, a combination of cool sweet fruit flavors, creamy textures, and just enough crunch. On our way out we sampled some macaroons from the retail counter; here's my assessment, "like butta"!