We finally made it to big Dirt Candy! The new location on Allen St is much larger than the original tiny location, but that doesn’t make it any easier to score a reservation. Once again, we had to book 2 months in advance and were only able to grab a 5:30pm spot. I hear that if you show up late in the evening, you might be able to snag a walk in table.
The new space is polished and airy with white textures, bright red banquette seats, and floral decals along the walls. It’s also a no tipping establishment that automatically adds 20% to your bill to provide stable wages for all the staff. With the larger kitchen comes a larger menu, but don’t worry, all the Dirt Candy classics are still there.
Amanda Cohen is pretty much *the* vegetable queen, and her menu makes eating veggies oh so fun and tasty. I recommend getting 2-3 snacks/sides and 2-3 dishes from the vegetables section for a table of two. If your waiter suggests that you change your order as everything you’ve picked out is very rich, listen to him. Seriously. I think we might have overdone it with this meal. Just because you’re eating vegetables does not automatically mean it’s light and healthy.
First up, the little terra cotta pot of bread. Warm and fluffy. I’m sure the red is beets, but I wasn’t paying attention when our waiter explained the rest. Oops.
The Dirt Candy website described the Korean Fried Broccoli ($8) as “basically crack in broccoli form”. That is so very accurate. The broccoli florets are coated in panko, deep fried, slathered in gochugang sauce, then topped with seasame seeds and garlic dressing.
I’m basically a broccoli monster, so this dish was screaming “eat me! eat me!” It’s a delightful explosion of flavor in your mouth. You’ll keep popping them until they’re all gone. Here’s a rare photo of yours truly, and as you can see I’m very excited about the broccoli.
Out of the 4 dishes we ordered, I’d have to say that the Curried Fries ($8) was the least exciting. Not that it was bad though. The fries were topped with paneer cheese and curry. It’s almost like a vegetarian take on poutine, but I wish the curry wasn’t all at the bottom.
The Mushroom ($14) dish at big Dirt Candy is basically the signature dish from the original location with a fancy makeover. Velvety portobello mushroom mousse, thinly sliced grilled portobellos, sauteed Asian pears, tart cherries, and truffle toast. I’ve always been a mushroom lover, but who knew mushrooms could be so sinfully rich. It’s basically mushroom pate and mushroom carpaccio.
Since I picked the Mushroom, John picked the other vegetable dish. Even though we already had the fried broccoli, he went with the Broccoli dogs ($16). Smoked and grilled broccoli dogs, sauteed in broccoli oil, served on milk bread buns, with broccoli kraut, broccoli puree, mustard BBQ sauce, plus broccoli rabe chips on the side. How many times did I say broccoli in that sentence? It’s like a broccoli tongue twister.
Grilled broccoli is one of my favorite things, but this is the first I’ve tried smoked broccoli. It tastes remarkably like a hot dog despite being the farthest thing possible from an actual hot dog. There’s a lot going on, but it seems to work. I wouldn’t mind the smoky flavor were a little more subtle though. Wish I had a palate cleanser as this was so rich!