Back in 2011, we wrote a glowing review of the naughty veggie East Village spot Dirt Candy. “We’re as far from vegetarian as T-Rex,” the review said, “but we’ve got ultimate respect for chefs who can impress without the use of meat. Especially when the food is as satisfying as what Amanda Cohen has going on at Dirt Candy.”
Well, much in this world has changed since 2011. We’ve ditched the word “Immaculate,” gone bi-coastal, and fallen in and out of lust with bone broth. And in that time, Dirt Candy has relocated to a larger and more polished venue downtown where the food is still very good and the logistics have gotten even better.
The biggest change? Size. Both restaurant and menu have expanded dramatically from their once scrappy, lean roots to an all-white, sprawling dining room featuring a bar and full, diverse menu. The most delightful addition? Brussels sprouts tacos. The most confusing one? A 20% administrative fee in lieu of a tip. We failed Intro to Econ, so we’re going to forgo developing an opinion on that one. But the change that will take getting used to is the space. We had a little Stockholm Syndrome as we familiarized ourselves with the shiny new sign and high ceilings. Kind of like how I sometimes miss the bullies who tortured me in middle school, a piece of us longs for the wee little Dirt Candy where we used to wait months for a table.
We think we’ll get over that pretty quickly though, and so should you. This spot has Girls’ Night Out written all over it, but we encourage the gents to get down with it, too. It’s not every day you can eat a hot dog that replaces meat with broccoli and find it f*cking wonderful.
This is what gets me out of bed in the morning. Spicy fried corn bread? Amanda Cohen gets it.
If you like to mainline mushrooms and want something light, you’ll enjoy this. Otherwise, we recommend dabbling elsewhere. It’s pretty, though!
The old classic still stands as a must-try. Two smoked and grilled broccoli stalks served like hot dogs with broccoli slaw and a flavorful mustard BBQ sauce.
Probably the most gorgeous and delicious thing on the revamped menu, these tacos are everything you wished those lettuce wraps at PF Chang’s had been growing up. They’re super fresh and come with a range of fancy accoutrements to dress your tacos with.