Raw-fare restaurants became popular in the late 1950s, when teenagers rebelled against their parents' meat-and-potatoes culture by sharing almond-nut milkshakes at the local sprouted-kale joint. Eat like a hepcat with today's Groupon: for $20, you get $40 worth of gourmet organic, raw and vegan cuisine at Quintessence.
Quintessence's skilled raw chefs craft vegan pizza, burgers, and internationally flavored cuisine from organic and enzyme-rich uncooked ingredients. The restaurant's menu tempts palates with a creamy lasagna, its noodles comprised of stacked layers of zucchini and squash made rich and creamy with "cheese" made from buttery macadamia nuts and cashews ($19). For an Indian platter, chefs drizzle chickpea and vegetable balls with a complex almond curry sauce ($21), and the Italian-sausage pizza ($15.50) boasts savory and nutrient-dense nut-based meats and cheeses with chunky tomato sauce.
The restaurant's indulgently healthful menu boasts ample add-ons for any meal, giving dining couples in search of an aphrodisiac the option of topping a kiss-friendly minty greek salad ($12) with a shot of raw libido-enhancing maca ($1.70). Night owls can enhance a vitamin-rich bowl of green soup ($8) with a shot of Noni Ginger Fire, a detoxifying blend of Tahitian superfoods to help to shake off weekend decadence and purge the body of stray Funyuns ($2.25).
Flavorful, internationally inspired raw food often draws celebs such as Alicia Silverstone and Liv Tyler to this East Village eatery, according to Time Out New York. But Quintessence has plenty to offer beyond star-spotting. Chefs lovingly construct each dish on the menu from organic fruit, vegetables, and grains never heated above 118 degrees. The staff piles raw pizzas with toppings such as spiced nuts, kalamata olives, and avocado, and craft raw pastas from yellow squash. The brunch menu incorporates sprouted-kamut bread and sweet yam crepes to recreate breakfast staples from benedicts to bagels. All desserts are nondairy and sugar-free, including the house-made ice crème and the pecan pie on a crush of soaked almonds, walnuts, and dates.