The Best New Vegan Restaurant in America || Eat Seeker: Fancy Radish

The Best New Vegan Restaurant in America || Eat Seeker: Fancy Radish


– [Richard] I realized
at a very early stage that really good food is
about cooking and flavor. It’s not about meat. I realized it wasn’t the
meat that tasted so good, it’s what chefs did to it. And I realized that you have to appeal to people through flavor. Most people would rather
have a great vegetarian dish, rather than a bad meat dish. People want good food. Cook good food and they will come. – Was a die hard carnivore, and I found out where meat
came from at an early age. And I was hit with this
immediate ethical dilemma. It hit me like a ton of bricks, that something so delicious
can be representative of such cruelty. I just had to find this
vegetarian way of life. So I taught myself to cook that way. How to get these layers of flavor, these deep, smoky, roasted, caramelized, wonderful depths of flavor into my food. I said, “Maybe I could
do this professionally. Maybe people really do
want the same kind of food.” So I opened up my first little cafe. – I ended up working with Rich for one summer at the restaurant, way back in the day ’cause
I was already a customer, I loved it. I was able to go to work everyday, be challenged and inspired
in a restaurant environment, eat the most delicious food, and have immediate gratification
where customers were like, “This is so delicious. If I could
eat this way all the time, I could be vegetarian.” – [Richard] And people
were coming in like crazy. Not just hippies and
stoners and health nuts, but families, people in suits and ties. They were all coming in for this food. The radish is just a representative of what we’ve always tried to do. – [Kate] I always pointed to it as one of my favorite dishes, because it really just encapsulated what we were trying to do. You take this very humble
vegetable like a radish. You just think of your
plain, salad bar radish. And yet there’s so many
varieties of radishes, and you can do so many things
to bring out their colors, flavors, textures. – [Richard] We have
purple ninjas right now, Spanish black skin radishes, of course watermelon radishes. They have this flesh that
just it’s so beautiful and silky and creamy. When you cook them, people
say it looks like ahi tuna. And its something that
no one would have ever expected from a radish. There is kind of a Japanese
underlying theme here. We use smoked soy sauce. We have a yuzu avocado puree that helps add the
richness when you eat it. We have what we call nori soil, which is black sesame
seeds, black salt, and nori ground up in the coffee mill to make this kind of dark soil that’s full of the sea funk and salty sesame flavor. It’s just delicious. And it all comes together on this plate in this beautiful little radish garden. And to me, just eats so harmoniously. The crunch, the creaminess
from roasting them, the marinating, the pickling,
all that comes together. Dan Dan Noodles at its
most basic are noodles with chili oil and pork. This is like one of these
original street foods. A guy used to walk around these villages. He’d have a long stick on his neck, and two pots hanging off one side. One pot was full of the
noodles and the hot water. The other was full of
sauce and he’d go like this and you’d have your dan dan
noodles right off the street. And so, I set off to create
our own version of that. Of course a vegan version. We do these five spiced mushrooms on top. You have the sauce, and the
secret ingredient’s tahini, some sesame paste and that way we get to add as much heat as we want. Tons and tons of heat, but it’s kind of tempered with the tahini. So you have this canvas of sesame paste to paint these really
spicy, vivid flavors on. And on top of that, we have out ginger and our Szechuan peppercorns
and all the great things that make Szechuan food what it is. Szechuan food just
completely changed everything for us when we got to try it. It’s just addictive. – [Kate] By the time you get to dessert you should be full right? You’re eating for the soul at that point. So you want it to be
absolutely decadent, rich, beautiful, perfect. And yet, at the same
time, through the mission of a vegetable restaurant, I love the idea of sneaking in some vegetable ingredients. And I think carrots are
really the perfect example because of carrot cake.
It’s such an obvious one. For a long time I stayed away from it ’cause I thought it was too cliche, but I thought, You know what let’s do it, but rather than just serve
a slice of carrot cake, we decided to present
it a little differently. So it’s actually got two
layers of cream cheese. One that’s done in a sort
of panna cotta style, with chunks of moist carrot
cake that are layered in. And then we also take some
roasted sort of wheels of carrot and some golden
raisins and sort of plump them back up so
that they’re a little bit soaked and juicy. We do a scoop of a
roasted carrot ice cream. When I was a little girl, my mom used to make a pot roast with carrots. I remember the flavor of the carrots when they were roasted like that. There was this salty, savoriness to them. So for this ice cream, we actually roast the carrots ahead of time. And it ends up having
this beautiful savory kind of quality to it. So a scoop of that in there. We do a walnut streusel
to give a little bit of crunch and texture in there. And the last element, of course,
is the cream cheese frosting. I’m a frosting girl. (laughs) Some people get the birthday cake and they just want the cake, and I’m like, “Give me the corner piece, with
like all the extra piping.” So to me, having that frosting
in there is really important. And to me, it just like
delivers on everything you want out of a perfect carrot cake. – [Richard] New York is
saturated with vegan restaurants. DC had very, very, very few. – [Kate] Yeah the restaurants were all excellent at accommodating a vegan diner, but they didn’t specialize in it. A lot of people are coming
in here and they want to have a fantastic meal and
try some really great food. But we’ve been doing
this a really long time. Really carving out our own approach to cooking vegan food. So it’s just fascinating to see how people approach their meal differently. No longer do they have to have an entree that had protein, starch, veg, and sauce. It was sort of like, “OK I’m
going to be more open-minded to all kinds of food.” So I think that allowed
us to really develop and sort of push boundaries. I feel like we’ve become
vegan translators. You know? – [Richard] Yeah. Yeah.

27 Replies to “The Best New Vegan Restaurant in America || Eat Seeker: Fancy Radish

  1. As a meat eater, I love vegetarian food. But I loathe vegan food. I've been to Michelin restos and have had vegetarian tasting menus that blew my mind, and better than many non-vegetarian ones. Vegan food just pushes the boundary of restrictions too far. No dairy kills all the potential – butter, cheese, cream, etc – they elevate flavours. I've been to so many highly rated vegan restaurants and they all disappoint. It's basically all sauce driven dishes made with seeds or avocado, and a mushrooms seemingly in every course. Or simply add curry to everything. It's just not satisfying. Give me a good vegetarian pizza instead with real cheese!

  2. intro starts “people want a good flavored dish”, already in love . Try vegan if you can , peace on earth!!

  3. Pretty good. Plant based food (vegetarian, vegan, raw food, fruitarian, juicing) has come a long way and is only getting better and better.

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