Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Candle 79

Candle 79 Market Plate

Clockwise from front right: Grilled Corn and Smoked Paprika, Chili Grilled Tempeh, Grilled Oyster Mushrooms, Chipotle Black Beans.

From front: Poblano-Tahini and Chipotle-Avocado

Market Plate
From the menu: Choose four food items and two sauces for $18.
Listed in order of my desire to eat them again:
1. Grilled Corn and Smoked Paprika
Excellently grilled, with a woody flavor, ample chili, achiote spiciness. The corn was perfectly in season and the spiciness was a welcome burst of flavor.
2. Chili Grilled Tempeh
Basted with a smokey barbeque. Spicy. Dense. The crunchiness in many ways echoed the texture of the corn. Despite having seemingly similar flavor profiles, they were quite different,which I attribute to the earthy umami of the fermented soy beans and tamari in the tempeh, as contrasted with the lighter, brighter flavors of the corn.
3. Sauces
Both sauces play on the balance between fat and spiciness.
Poblano-Tahini. Creamy tahini and subtle heat from poblanos. Quite good.
Chipotle-Avocado. Creamy avocado and subtle heat and smokiness from the chipotles. The flavor was a bit more subtle than the Tahini based sauce and the avocados didn't taste quite ripe; I would have liked to see a bit more avocado, to give a denser texture.
4. Chipotle Black Beans
I was a bit indifferent to these; they were earthy but didn't have enough flavor for my liking. However the softer texture was a well received counterpoint to the crunchier tempeh and corn.
5. Grilled oyster mushrooms
These were probably grilled in a foil packet, if at all, because they lacked grill marks. Oyster mushrooms are my favorite fungus and these were highly disappointing. They were served too cool, so had gotten firm and a bit stringy. Not seasoned, even with salt and pepper. My only commendation is that their blandness made them excellent vehicles for consuming the sauces.
Repeat. Candle 79 consistently serves some of the most seasonal and delicious vegan food in the entire city. I've been dozens of times and make a point to stop by every time I'm on the Upper East Side.

Candle 79, Upper East Side, http://www.candle79.com/

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