I was very excited about the concepts behind Dirt Candy for months and genuinely anticipating our visit all week. I am a life-long vegetarian, and, although I have lived in NY for a while, I am used to being catered to on the West Coast and I fully support more vegan/vegetarian option in NY, especially options that emphasize seasonal vegetables rather than fake meat, which I think is lacking in general in NY.
As soon as we walked into the restaurant I was disappointed. The decor is basically the same as Pink Berry, completely sterile with fluorescent lighting.
The service was awkward and not what would be expected for a place that charges $16-$18 for an entree. The server only really talked to us when she wanted to interrupt our conversation to force us to hear a 5 minute oration of the description on the menu of each item as she brought it out. They also rushed us, bringing out our bread with the appetizer and the salad out before we had even started eating the appetizer.
The food was, overall, not creative, and where it was creative, the result was not appetizing. We had the hushpuppies, which were good, but they placed no emphasis on vegetables, just on being deep fried and coming with sweet, fatty maple syrup dip. The mixed green salad was boring, nothing really stood out, except that it came with candied grapefruit. The grapefruit was presented awkwardly on skewers, impossible to eat without it disintegrating, and far too sweet, once again with no emphasis on bring out the natural flavors of fruits and vegetables.
The entrees were probably some of the most unpalatable entrees I have ever been brought out at any restaurant. The carrot risotto tasted like dimensionless nothing. I felt like I was eating glue and could only eat half of it. My boyfriend got the crispy tofu. I tried some of the coconut sauce and it was so unbalanced it felt like I was drinking coconut milk straight from a can.
We tried to see if the restaurant could redeem itself in some way so we ordered dessert. We got a dry chocolate cake with sweet potato sorbet. The sorbet was by far the most unpalatable item on the menu, and I couldn't eat more than 1 bite.
Overall, I would consider this place to be an embarrassment to the vegetarian/vegan community in NY. I think that you can have a menu that emphasizes natural, seasonal ingredients that is also healthy and tastes wonderful. I think Dirt Candy enforces stereotypes about vegan/vegetarian food tasting completely inferior to nonvegetarian food and obviously I will never go here again.
Pros: Example: best croissants in town
Cons: food, atmosphere, service