This weekend I finally had lunch at Pure Food and Wine. Remember that episode of Sex and the City, when the girls eat at Raw (and Smith Jerrod is their waiter)? Yeah, it’s just like that. To quote the website, "the raw vegan menu is entirely plant based and does not use any processed ingredients. Nothing is heated above approximately 118 degrees in order to preserve vitamins, minerals, and enzymes."
I love me some good, fresh food, and Pure did not disappoint. Flavor explosion: the signature zucchini lasagna was amazing (no noodles; instead basil pistachio pesto, sun-dried tomato marinara, macadamia pumpkin seed ricotta), the Thai spring rolls delish, and the lemon bar tasty (although not worth $8).
The cozy ground-floor restaurant is adorable, and the light fare on the candlelit back patio would make for a perfect sexy summer rendezvous. Although the service was lacking (one waiter for the entire restaurant!), I look forward to lingering outside when the weather warms up, with a crisp bottle of sustainable white.
In an area starved for some classy establishments, the new Gramery/Murray Hill 'inoteca is a fantastic addition to the neighborhood, and it shows. By 7 on a Friday nite all of the tables in the dining room were full. At 8:30 there was a line. And the separated bar room was the liveliest little place I’ve seen in a long time, rocking from six until we left at eight thirty.
I tried the original ‘inoteca on the Lower East Side about a year ago and honestly I left with lukewarm feelings. Maybe it was all the hype, or the fact that the entire menu is in Italian, but it just didn’t change my life. Now I feel differently. The food we had at the new outpost was full of intense flavor and beautifully presented. By far the best thing we ate was the pesto bruschetta, quite possibly the best bruschetta I’ve ever had.
We also had the fontina, truffle oil, spinach, and mushroom panini and the polenta with ceci and pomodoro. I would also order these things again. We finished with a nutella panino, which is good if you just want something small and sweet to finish, but to me was not even worth the $6.
My only gripe with this place is still that the menu is strictly in Italian. I get that this is an authentic restaurant. I appreciate that it’s trying to show some sophistication. But come on! Unless you hire a ridiculously friendly waitstaff that has no problem explaining what everything is, it sucks that there might be something on the menu that could totally blow your mind, yet you don’t order it because you didn’t know what it was. English descriptions would be appreciated, thanks.