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I had heard good things about Pure Food and Wine (54 Irving Place), but to be honest I am always suspect whether vegan food will really taste great. And raw vegan food seemed to add another unknown variable to the equation. But it was time to give it a try.

Don’t be misled by the quiet entrance and dark main dining room, there is an amazing (and very large) outdoor patio for your meal with shade available if you like to eat outside but don’t want direct sunlight. As raw vegan food by it’s nature almost forces creativity to keep it interesting and fulfilling, the menu doesn’t disappoint. (Here is the Pure Food and Wine Menu)

We tried the Niwa Maki Of Avocado, Enoki Mushrooms, Pickled Heirloom Baby Carrots with wasabi and ginger, the Sweet Corn and Cashew Tamales with Chili Spiced Portabella, the Taco Salad and the Zucchini, Local Roma and Heirloom Tomato Lasagna and for dessert the Salted Chocolate Caramel Tart.

The standouts were the Sweet Corn and Cashew Tamales and the Salted Chocolate Caramel Tart. I craved the Tamales the next day and the Salted Chocolate Caramel Tart rivals any dessert in the city. The Lasagna was also good but personally I would skip the taco salad.

The only downside is the price. While the ingredients are super-fresh and meticulously prepared, prices for entrees range from ($20-$26), so if you are comparing this lasagna ($24) or these tamales ($26) to your favorite Italian or Mexican place…well sticker shock may set in. But I would definitely return for the Tamales and Salted Chocolate Caramel Tart.

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