Chick-un & Waffles at Urban Vegan Kitchen
Urban Vegan Kitchen, an all-vegan eatery billed as semi-sophisticated comfort food, has taken over Blossom On Carmine’s space. The management is the same but the new menu was designed in partnership with chef Timothy “Mississippi Vegan.” Thank goodness. New York needs a lot more restaurants not using frozen and packaged food products. I was excited to head over there after peeping the menu. There seemed to be no mysterious cheese or patties, nothing that hinted to use of packaged garbage… the whip was coconut, the bacon was shiitake, the sausage was housemade, the burger patty (which I’ll have to include in my current burger battle) was mushroom barley. Such things are music to this 20-year vegan’s ear. I endured enough of that garbage on menus long enough. A menu like this is very exciting, so exciting that the prices of these dishes don’t even register. Also: Vegan “scenester’ Mississippi Vegan has a beautiful aesthetic; and this was not beautiful.
Here’s my review of their most popular dish: Chick-un & Waffles. Firstly, this is one of those dishes, like The Benedict, that I must order if a menu offers it. But when I am ordering, I am idealistic and hopeful. I am ordering the Chicken & Waffles that I create in my head, a fantasy. More often what gets placed in front of me, waking me from my dream, is a packaged chicken patty thing. At Urban Vegan Kitchen, I get the Chicken & Waffles of my dreams.
The Southern fried seitan is light and moist and in smallish chunks so you are getting maximum crispy texture. The mound of salty, sautéed garlic kale underneath the seitan helps break up the starchiness of the dish. The thick Belgian waffle is a sweet vehicle for delivery to your mouth. And the maple mustard aioli was delicious. I didn’t opt for the $2 addition of maple syrup but would next time. The sweetness from the waffle and aioli sometimes needed support, especially with a bite of the kale.
I was so pleased with this first visit to Urban Vegan Kitchen… and there are so many other dishes, small and large, that I need to try. I will definitely be back. My one complaint, however, is price. My dish and some coffee, with tip, was like $30. That is a bit much. I know that Blossom was charging similar prices for lesser quality food, but that was kind of insanely ridiculous. Urban Vegan Kitchen’s prices are just slightly ridiculous, especially given the ambiance and vibe is laid back and casual. And I do ridiculous things occasionally, but not all the time.
Overall, Urban Vegan Kitchen’s food is fantastic. I’ll be back for more soon, despite the price!