Restaurant Review: Café Blossom
Organic Vegan Cuisine Blossoms on Manhattan’s Upper West Side
Manhattan ’s Upper West Side is now on the map for creative organic vegan cuisine, thanks to the October 2007 opening of Café Blossom. The innovative team behind this spot must have a knack for making history by changing Manhattan neighborhoods that hadn’t a thing resembling a purely vegan restaurant before. Their wildly popular Blossom, in Chelsea, was, in 2005, the first purely plant-based, upscale and gourmet organic restaurant of its kind in that area of New York City.
The first one did so well that the Blossom team decided to open Café Blossom in another area not yet known for vegan restaurants: the Upper West Side. We’re just down the block from New York City’s famed Museum of Natural History when we spot Café Blossom’s inviting green awning, advertising “Organic Vegetarian Cuisine.” Entering the soothing, earthy atmosphere of Café Blossom is a pleasure. We relax in an airy room with cream walls, wood chairs and floors, stone tabletops and sculptures. For those just nipping in, there’s a juice bar with counter seating and high, wood stools. Glass-topped platters of freshly baked cakes, muffins, biscotti and cookies are placed enticingly along the juice bar, daring customers to resist. A chalkboard above the bar offers an impressive list of fresh juice concoctions, smoothies and shakes.
I decide to give the 16-ounce Field of Greens a try. It’s a fresh juice of kale, cucumber, spinach, apple, lemon and ginger. Those hesitant to try a green juice for fear of a bitter, unpleasant taste would forever get over their fear after trying Café Blossom’s lovely version. Another interesting juice is the Pink Lady: beet, pineapple, ginger and pear. Those looking for an even sweeter start to their meal can try the Hawaiian Smoothie, made with coconut, pineapple, banana, almond milk, hemp protein, and agave nectar.
Teas, coffees and cappuccinos are also served, in addition to an impressive organic wine list.
Not only is the Blossom team devoted to serving fresh, organic ingredients, but they also purchase from local farms and small distribution companies. And while the organic ethic is central to the restaurant’s mission, so is this statement: “We at Blossom are first and foremost animal caring.”
We’ve heard Café Blossom planned to feature some of the original Blossom’s signature dishes, and indeed, here’s the scrumptious Black-Eyed Pea Cake. Newer dishes include the wonderfully moist and tender Seitan Skewers, flame-grilled in a slightly tangy sesame tomato sauce, served on a bed of mixed greens.
Not to be missed for mushroom fans is the Cornmeal Crusted Oyster Mushrooms, sesame soy marinated mushrooms served over herbed coleslaw and dressed with basil oil -- simply magnificent. Raw-food aficionados, and everyone else, will be thrilled to choose from starters such as the remarkable Mushroom Bianco Tart, made with macadamia nut cheese, fresh herbs and oyster mushrooms with truffle oil. Another raw offering is an appetizer of Autumn Sweet Potato Rolls, made of coconut noodles, jicama, carrot and red pepper with almond ginger dipping sauce -- pleasing to the eye and the palate. The Old World Pizza Tart, made with spinach walnut pesto, roasted eggplant, vegan soy cheese, olives and bell pepper over lime basil greens is also sublime, and both the raw and the cooked pizza tart are uniquely luscious.
Café Blossom offers several gorgeous and ample salads, including a Caesar Salad, a Rocket Arugula, and my favorite, the simple and satisfying Blossom Greens, consisting of spring greens tossed with cucumber, cherry tomato, marinated chickpeas and maple balsamic dressing.
Those looking for heartier lunch fare can enjoy a sandwich big enough for two: All are served with a choice of French fries, sweet potato fries, Cajun potato fries, herbed potato salad or house salad. There’s a Seitan Philly Cheese Sandwich; and the Southern Seitan Sandwich is divine, made with spiced seitan with caramelized onions, avocado, lettuce and chipotle aioli, served on rustic ciabatta bread. Then there’s the Portabello Panini, made with grilled mushroom, zucchini, peppers and vegan soy cheese, with spinach walnut pesto, also on ciabatta bread.
Café Blossom boasts a stunning array of inspired main dishes, including raw options. Mixed Mushroom Pesto Pasta is angel hair pasta tossed with Portobello, crimini and oyster mushrooms, bell peppers, spinach and eggplant in a spinach walnut pesto sauce. On the lighter end is a raw zucchini linguine topped with almond pesto, sun dried tomatoes, portobellos, kalamata olives and vegan parmesan. There’s the Pecan Crusted Seitan, or the Seitan Scallopini, which combines pan-seared seitan cutlets and eggplant with a white wine caper sauce, complemented with mashed potato and sautéed greens. The Raw Pecan and Cranberry CousCous with Green Curry Sauce is truly unique dish, made with pecan and cranberry couscous with green curry sauce, sautéed vegetables and spicy chili oil. Café Blossom even offers a Mix & Match of eleven side dishes as a customized, main-course meal.
After the meal, we consider the shakes. Chocolate-peanut butter is a classic; and there are strawberry and root beer floats. Or we could have freshly basked pumpkin-curry and raisin-coconut muffins. There’s also carrot cake, lemon cake, and chocolate cake, or apple crumb pie, cheesecake or biscotti, and even raw raisin or oatmeal cookies.
A visit to Café Blossom is highly recommended. The attentive, and knowledgeable staff will welcome you warmly, and you’ll be supporting a fully vegan business -- something that’s good for the entire planet.
466 Columbus Avenue , between 82 nd & 83 rd Street
New York , NY 10024
Open Monday-Friday 11am-10pm; Saturday 11am-10:30pm; Sunday 11am-9:30pm
Daily Local Delivery & Event Catering Available