Pure Food & Wine Brunch

“I’ve made a reservation for us at Pure Food and Wine for brunch Saturday,” my best friend Lindsey wrote to me in an email regarding the planning of one of my many New York City weekends.

I typed in “Pure Wood and Wine in NYC” into the Google search box and groaned. It’s an all raw-and-vegan restaurant in Gramercy.

Click, click. They don’t even have an oven, boasts the website. Double groan.

I like to be healthy. I want to stay skinny. I listened to my mother when she said, ‘eat your vegetables.’ That said, as I emailed away at work, on a juice cleanse, I was looking forward to a weekend of cocktailing and carbs, preferably the kind that are fried and covered in butter.

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“Sounds great!” I replied. Click, send. Lindsey has great taste in everything—clothing, restaurants, food—she’s a chef in training. Plus, you should always trust your best friend. (But pick a friend with good taste.)

Saturday, like a precocious child avoiding her veggies, I politely tried to get out of this healthful brunch. Well, we wanted to go shopping in SoHo, so maybe we brunch up there? (i.e. Can we brunch somewhere where they fry things in oil, please?)

“We already have a reservation and everywhere in SoHo will be packed at twelve-thirty on a Saturday.” Touche. Lindsey had her heart set.

Grumble. Off we went on our stroll toward the raw-and-vegan brunch.

For starters, Gramercy is a charming neighborhood. Often overlooked by yours truly on previous trips to New York for more popular spots like the West Village and SoHo, I’m quite fond of the neighborhood. The restaurant is nestled on Irving Street, Lindsey and Danielle’s favorite

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We were joined by Danielle, my other super-healthy super-gorgeous New York City bestie. Dani is the fitness editor at Shape Magazine and had already snuck in a 10-mile run that morning. Lindsey had already put in an hour at Equinox. Meanwhile, I felt like a waste of life (and registered for another marathon later that day).

We began with healthy juices and smoothies. For Lindsey, the Green Apple, with apple, cucumber, celery, mint, lime and spinach.

For Danielle, the Bunny Brew juice (which had carrot apple and ginger). “I love ginger so I thought it was just the right mix of sweet (from the apple) and spicy (from the ginger). I couldn’t really taste the carrot. It was kind of like cold apple cider,” says Danielle.

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Lindsey sipped on the mean greens with kale, chard, cucumber, lemon, parsley, and cilantro. She said, “This juice was a little strong on the lemon component but was still surprisingly palletable considering it was all greens.”

And for me, ever the fan of the strawberry-banana smoothie, the Strawberry Blonde, with strawberries, pineapple, banana, and coconut milk, was delicious, and slurped down quite quickly.

Lindsey opted for the pumpkinseed and herb salad with greens, kale, parsley, cilantro, mint, hemp seeds, pumpkin seed macadamia Parmesan, and pumpkin seed lemon dressing. “It was quite the generous portion and left me feeling satisfied and refreshed,” she noted.

Danielle and I shared two dishes off the brunch menu.

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The cauliflower and corn cheese grits were addicting. Served in a ramekin, I wished the dish had been a serving bowl instead. The tiny ramekin was filled with fluffy, flavorful, cheesy grits, but healthier as it was cauliflower. It was served with a mesclun salad with caper lemon vinaigrette and topped with dill pickle chips. The salad was the perfect complement.

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The second dish was the flax seed crepes with hazelnut cacao spread. The healthy crepes were filled with bananas and cacao spread (read: healthy Nutella) and topped with more. On the very top was an enormous dollop of cashew whipped cream, with flecks of vanilla. You can do so much with hearty cashews—something I’ve learned from the best juice of the Blue Print Cleanse—and the hearty whipped cream was exceptional.

Both the dishes were warm, and, since the restaurant claims to operate sans oven or gas, I am perplexed as to how they became that way. Perhaps it’s a secret only raw foodists can know. I’m certainly not likely to investigate further.

The food was actually surprisingly delicious. However, our server was horrendous. He forgot our beverages, rarely filled our water glasses, and took an eternity to bring the check. The restaurant wasn’t slammed either, so there’s not an excuse to be found.

The Bitches say: B+. The food was an A, but the service was horrendous, particularly for a half-empty restaurant.

Pure Food and Wine serves brunch Saturdays and Sundays.

Pure Food and Wine
54 Irving Place
(Gramercy)
New York, NY
(212) 477-1010

Pure Food and Wine on Urbanspoon

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