Today I’m going to talk a bit about Candle 79, a famous vegan restaurant here in NYC. One of my classmates knows the amazing people behind this historical restaurant, and set up the entire lunch for a group of us last Friday. Let me tell you, we had an absolute blast!
The service was great! So knowledgeable and friendly, very professional to say the least. It stood out so much that during lunch our group actually started talking about how we have found that some vegan/vegetarian cafes and restaurants can have very aloof and flighty waitstaff, and that that is starting to become an expectation for many patrons in this niche restaurant market.
Seeing that we are students at The Natural Gourmet Institute, studying to become health food chef’s (read:pioneers), some of Candle 79’s management, and the COO, were very excited to talk to us about the restaurant and the industry in general. It was fun to have them so interested in what we are studying and share a common belief that is pretty rare in the restaurant world. We even had the opportunity to meet the Head Chef!
At one point, some of the other customers were so intrigued by our conversations and interaction with the people behind the scenes of the restaurant that they asked us who we were! Although we couldn’t drop any impressive titles or names (just yet, that is), it was very exciting to share about our school, it’s program, and how passionately we believe in natural health. Considering that they were also customers at a fine dining vegan restaurant, they were very interested and excited for us too! The man who I’m thinking of in particular was actually a man taking his client from Bazil to a business lunch- talk about progress, it’s probably just me but I find that speaks worlds for how our society is becoming more aware of natural health and how it’s becoming pretty chic (which is a good thing to raise awareness, IMO).
Side note: He kept telling us he wanted to marry one of us because “a woman who knows how to cook delicious, healthy food is a rarity” and that he’ll “make the money, and [we] can spend it”. (Katie that one is for you, you’ll appreciate how funny it was). I was loving where that conversation was going. ANYWAYS, back to Candle 79.
We got two starters to share, an entree each, and two desserts to share. In typical fashion, I unfortunately don’t think we gave ourselves two spare seconds to snap a photo of the desserts. Oops!
Janet, the woman who organized the lunch, has tried almost everything on the menu, (and an interesting fact, she takes her family there every year for Thanksgiving, which apparently is one of Candle’s busiest days of the year – they got their first reservation for Thanksgiving 2012 on Thanksgiving night 2011!), and said she has yet to taste a dish she didn’t thoroughly enjoy!
I split the avocado salad and black bean burger with Julia, and we loved every bite. I’m the kind of gal who tends to order the same or same 2 dishes at a restaurant, but I can say with confidence that I want to try every dish here because their menu is just that good. The next entree I’m going to order on my next visit will definitely be the raw lasagna! I had a bite of Anna’s and it was amazing!
Speaking of Anna and Julia (they have two different intolerances to gluten), Candle 79 has a different menu for gluten free options, which don’t stray too far off from the regular menu. It just has adaptions to some of the favorite dishes, which is great for people with gluten intolerances because they still get to enjoy the restaurant favorites without sacrificing health or taste!
Another classmate, who couldn’t join us for lunch, told us we had to try the polenta fries. Let me tell you that they are so amazing, I’m glad we did! They have a crispy outside with a creamy middle, and the savory/salty flavor profile that you expect with anything labeled “fries”. It may not be the most health supportive item on the menu but it’s a true testament to the ideas; everything in moderation, and that it’s possible to make better substitutes for our favorite American comfort foods without compromising flavor.
That’s actually one of my favorite things about Candle 79. They offer an appetizing menu that would make even the most loyal carnivore’s mouth water, all the while providing the best quality and nutritional quality that you would expect from a vegan fine dining establishment.
Okay well sorry for the long post today! If you are interested more about Candle 79, please hop on over to their website and check out what they have to say -they even have a photo gallery if all you want are more pictures!