Valentines day brings a sea of commercial goods lining shelves everywhere, but it also means special menu offerings for vegan diners. I spent my night at Café Blossom on the UWS, where the special $60 three-course menu certainly did not disappoint.
Café Blossom has an earthy, modern ambiance, accented by touches of dark mahogany upon a pallet of tans and creme furnishings. The atmosphere is certainly casual-upscale and perfect for a low-key romantic candlelit dinner.
The service is very attentive and cordial. They frequently refill your water and aren’t too invasive– they only asked how everything was one time, which is perfect for me, since it can get annoying real fast if it’s done 3+ times. The only thing I didn’t like was that they didn’t put my leftovers in a bag for me– they just handed me the containers. Where am I supposed to put that?
I really love the Blossom line of shakes and smoothies and was already antsing to try the Orange Creamsicle Shake, which certainly did not disappoint at all. It tasted like a great mix of orange sherbet, vanilla ice cream and soymilk, resulting in a smooth yet icy consistency. It has a tart, creamy flavor that had me sipping it up to the last drop. It is also not too heavy, so it won’t take up too much precious stomach space for the main course.
Starting out, I had the mushroom ravioli in truffle butter oil which was extremely delicious– creamy, fluffy, flavorful and savory. The filling seemed to have a nice mix of mushroom and Daiya mozzarella. The dough wrapper was not overly soft or chewy– it had the right consistency and didn’t distract from the flavor of the filling, which is how it should be. My favorite part was the truffle oil butter sauce, which drenches the ravioli and is dotted with chives. It’s too bad it only came with three pieces, I could’ve eaten 20 of those things!
Next came the mushroom risotto for my entrée choice. I detected a touch of red wine in the flavor. It had a heavy consistency and was very filling. I didn’t like the shallots on top, which tasted very dried-out and had a rough texture which I didn’t like. It wasn’t my favorite, but risotto lovers may like it more than I did.
The Tofu Trio was another entrée choice. This dish had a few different elements going on… there were sushi rolls, three small dumplings, kimchi and three pieces of grilled tofu. I liked the taste and firm texture of the tofu slabs, which were nicely grilled and seasoned well… I could taste the lemon and sweet/spicy chili imbued in the tofu. The dumplings also had some chili with the carrot/leek and soy filling inside but were not too spicy. I didn’t really like the sushi rolls, which seemed like a pedestrian creation… too much seaweed on the outside and nothing flavorful at all for the filling. The sauce was nothing special, as it tasted like a watered-down sugared soy sauce.
By this time, I was already totally stuffed… but dessert was coming up, so I took a little 15 minute break and continued on to the sweets.
Here we have the Strawberry Peach Crumble, which was drizzled with some chocolate sauce and accompanied by a lovely scoop of Lula’s vanilla ice cream. I really enjoyed this dessert, which had a unique crunchy yet smooth consistency. It tasted almost like a coconut-chocolate truffle candy bar in scoop-able dessert form. The ice cream was creamy and complemented the chocolate sauce well. Overall, I really enjoyed this dessert.
The Spice Cake was another dessert choice on the Valentines menu. It didn’t really wow me, as it tasted like a normal cake and wasn’t too surprising. I detected overtones of cinnamon and nutmeg, possibly some clove. It had sliced bananas in the middle, which tasted like… sliced bananas. The best part of the cake was the whipped creme on top, which is saying a lot since it was meant as an embellishment, not the main feature. Because it was not an unexpected taste, it didn’t score many points with me.
I hope everyone had an equally enjoyable V-Day as I did! As much as I detest commercialism-driven holidays, it’s still a great excuse to try something new or treat yourself to a bit of the unexpected.