Plant based goodness, who knew it could look and taste so fresh and decadent?
When Dessert Professional Magazine, with whom I had been a part of the Top 10 Pastry Chefs of America before, had me check out PS Kitchen with the team, I was evidently ecstatic! Located close to the iconic Hell’s Kitchen string of restaurants and bars, this vegan restaurant used a French technique to create artisanal, unique, gourmet and plant based food. The profits were donated 100% to sustainable charitable work locally and overseas, and used to create jobs for those marginalized in New York, more of which can be read here.
The four plates of savory items started with the fennel tartine, with a French pastry in it’s name, comprised of caramelized fennel and orange supreme. It was almost as sweet as a dessert, with beautiful vegetables loaded onto a slim slice of bread. The caramelization gave the dish a sweetness that could qualify as an apres dinner bite, almost like a replacement for cheese and wine.
Up next was the crispy artichoke with preserved lemon sauce. Texturally this was extremely well cooked, with a flavorful crust, perfect bite-able portion size, and a hint of lemon in the sauce, which we nibbled and gobbled in no time at all.
The freshness of the watermelon salad with heirloom tomato was unbeatable, and acted almost as a palette cleanser, With exact tonalities of red, it was supported with micro basil, micro mint and house feta. The tangy flavors were loaded in every bite of tomato, and particularly exploded like a party in the mouth with the fresh watermelon.
The vegan hen of the woods mushroom with purple potato salad and blue cheese dressing was a more elaborate salad with a hint of the saucy mushrooms in the center. With an apt textural contrast of potato with sour vegan cheese, it made for a hearty and extremely flavorful bite.
We tried all three items on this plant based menu, and were not disappointed. The clear winner was the vegan rendition of chocolate and raspberries, which comprised of chocolate cake with chocolate mousse and raspberry calamansi puree. The textures of the chocolate portions were impeccable, with the mousse holding its firm density and taste against the brownie-like cake. It was also easy to distinguish the flavors of raspberry and calamsnsi in the red puree, which is a feat to accomplish. The checkerboard presentation added to the fun, and made it a playful and plentiful portion for a dessert monster like myself.
The strawberry shortcake was a deconstructed rendition, with a strawberry rhubarb compote with almond cream and crunchy almond. When capturing all the components in a large spoonful, the sugary bread texture balanced well with the smoothness of the cream and the tartness of the compote. The fresh strawberries added a balanced tartness which offset the sweetness very well.
It ended with a more Italian style cookie plate with affogato. The cookies were naturally more biscuit-like as they were vegan, but blended well when dunked into the strong espresso. The dark chocolate and espresso combination made for a jolting refresher that ended the meal with a bang!
With the emergence of plant based restaurants in both New York and Los Angeles, I was thrilled that several, like this one, matched the taste and social responsibility quotient, too!