After such a delicious and eye opening experience at Rockin Raw, I was interested to find other raw vegan eateries in New York City. So my quest began and led me quickly to Quintessence.

Located in the east village, Quintessence has, to my surprise, been open since 1999! That’s 16 years of serving NYC with raw, organic, vegan food. Back then I would’ve guessed that the city was relying solely on pizza and twinkies. It’s remarkable to think that Quintessence was so ahead of its time and able to attract city people to such a unique type of food.

Over the 16 years, the décor and menu may have changed, but their mission has remained the same. The food at Quintessence has always been mostly raw, 100% organic, gluten free and vegan. Unlike some restaurants, which claim to be organic, but in reality only have one or two options, Quintessence vows that everything is truly organic and mostly locally sourced. Everything is also handmade from scratch, according to owners Mun and Raw Chef Dan.

The Menu at Quintessence

Upon first looking at the menu, you’ll probably be confused since many items will look unfamiliar. Quintessence uses some of the most rare and exotic ingredients found on earth to make innovative dishes. You’ll see items like Goma-ae, Burdock, and Gochujang, none of which I had ever heard of. I was so fortunate for our friendly server Chris, who happily answered our many questions about the restaurant and menu. At a place like Quintessence, it is so necessary to have a knowledgeable server and I was so grateful for Chris. Not only did he answer every question, but I also could tell that he himself is passionate about the food and the message Quintessence is trying to send through their food.

Myself, and two others from the Eat Up Crew, went to Quintessence and indulged in a variety of raw vegan delicacies. Chris also let us know that most items on the menu are meant for more of a tapas style experience. The small plates are fairly small, while the large plates can be used as a main course for one. For starters we tried the Goma-ae, which is a raw take on the traditional Japanese small dish called hourensou. In Japanese, goma-ae literally translate to “spinach dressed with sesame seeds”. Here, they start with raw tahini, and then add sesame seeds for texture and a nutty, sweet flavor.

Quintessence

We also shared the Coconut Curry Quinoa Pilaf. This dish is one of their cooked items. They use sprouted quinoa, which is slow cooked with coconut oil, seasonings, and veggies. This was definitely a table favorite.

Quintessence

We then each ordered our own entrees; 2 tostadas, a savory crepe, and for myself I tried the Chipotle roll and the spicy fofu roll. I was especially intrigued by the “fofu”, which is their version of tofu, except it’s not made from soy. It’s actually made from Irish Moss(a type of seaweed) and cashews. The fofu was creamier than tofu, but still held its shape like tofu. Both rolls were quite tasty, but if you’re not a fan of that added kick of spiciness, I would go for something more mild. Personally, I loved the kick of heat!

Quintessence Quintessence

And at a place like Quintessence, you don’t say no to the dessert menu. Everything sounded SO good, we could not simply share just one. Instead, we each ordered one – blueberry pie a la mode with macadamia nut “ice cream”, pecan pie, and the chocolate chia pudding. Oh were all of these so good! I had to know what they used to sweeten these, and Chris informed us that no conventional sugars are ever used. Instead, they opt for natural sweeteners, such as dates, apricots, xylitol(which comes straight from white tree bark) and coconut sugar. I was blown away!

Quintessence

With a combination of good service, great food, and great company, our dining experience at Quintessence was everything you want dining out to be. I look forward to eating there again soon, as well as continuing my raw food quest around the city! Stay tuned for a follow up Behind The Kitchen interview with co-founder Mun!

Quintessence – website
East Village
263 East 10th Street (bet. Ave A & 1st Ave)
New York, NY 10009

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About The Author

Profile photo of Julie
Healthy Eater

Southern girl at heart, minus the fried food. Fresh on the NY food scene, hungry for a healthy way to live in this food capital.