Thursday, September 12, 2013

Blossom on Carmine: Brunch #2 (Vegan MoFo 2013)

This second visit started off kind of odd, as a friend overheard the host telling another table of diners that Blossom on Carmine is not really affiliated with Blossom and is hoping to have their name changed. A particularly perplexing statement given that, in addition to the name, the menu is quite similar....and they share the same website.  For the record, this theory was categorically debunked by V-Note staff later that same evening. 

In any event, onto the meal.  My friends shared the black-eyed pea and potato cakes: chili pepper aioli to start.  I, on the other hand, snootily abstained: holding out for my preferred pea-cake for dinner.

But, let's get right to it: I knew the moment the tofu Benedict: English muffin, steamed potatoes, grilled asparagus, ham, hollandaise sauce was placed on the table that it was yet another disappointing, BoC tofu dish.  Damn!  I really wanted to like this place.  But, the ham was straight out of a package and barely warmed.  And, I can only assume it was unappealingly placed on top because it was hiding the seemingly unseasoned/un-marinated tofu still in block form underneath.  The English muffin was chewy- my friend thought stale.  The "Hollandaise" had the distinct consistency of Veganaise mixed with a little bit of something extra and had been dolloped, not poured. I'll be damned if I couldn't have made this quickie, lazy Benedict at home. Champs, a significantly less expensive and less-pretentious restaurant could have knocked it out of the park.  And, to make matters worse, it had come highly recommended by our waitress, so TWO of us were suckered into this catastrophe.

Worse than that, the potatoes were boiled and, therefore, tasteless. Why would anyone purposefully boil potatoes unless they were going to mash them?  The only saving grace of the plate was the asparagus, which was fresh and perfectly prepared. Unfortunately- particularly on my friend's identical plate, they were coated in the mayodaise and could not be saved.

Our other friend went simple and had the best plate at the table: spicy tofu scramble with sauteed bell peppers, black beans, cilantro, cheddar cheese, pan fried bacon and potatoes, roasted plum tomato, garlic butter toast.  Having now been disappointed twice, I definitely think BoC is overpriced for what it is; still, I would have taken this dish over mine at any cost.

I'd been looking forward to sharing their awesome chocolate kahlua tart for dessert, but I was so disgusted by my meal that I skipped it.  A restaurant like this absolutely can and should do better than store-bought ham and a block of unseasoned tofu.  Other people have had better experiences, but I'm officially unimpressed.

Luckily our day looked up as we made our way to Governor's Island for Fete Paridiso.  A glimpse:

It runs through the end of September 2013, so try to make it if you can.


  1. I've never had the benedict. Typically we get the cordon bleu, the french toast and the seitan with biscuits and gravy and they are all the BOMB. I'm sorry yours sucked. But you make a good point-- Champs is always the best.

  2. your dish looks gross. glad I wasn't there.

    I was only at BoC once when they first opened, and it was for dinner. At the time, they had a completely different menu than any of the other Blossom's. It was a heavy, home-style type of menu. My friend loved it, but it wasn't "healthy" enough for my taste.

  3. Bummer. I hate when a restaurant meal sucks. You know, the waitress may really have loved the dish — there's no accounting for people's taste. Unless you know what they like, it's hard to depend on their judgement. Still, you'd expect restaurant staff to know what's good. Do you tell the restaurant manager your opinion? I never do, but how will they know if we don't tell them what we like and what we don't?

  4. Stacy, Although it's not my style, I've seen the seitan with biscuits and gravy and it doesn't even look like it's from the same restaurant (in the best way possible). Ah, Champ's. I don't go often enough.

    BYOL, yeah; you wouldn't have loved it. Are any restaurants healthy enough for your tastes? LOL

    Andrea, that's a good point. However, I noticed something in this particular case that would prevent me from bothering: in general, the Blossom family of restaurants has quite a few menu items of late that rely heavily on packaged meat replacements (Gardein chicken, what I assume was Lightlife ham) and I don't have the energy or really know how to argue with that kind of mindset. I don't mind upscale restaurants with upscale prices, but you've got to back it up with inventiveness or, at very least, effort.

  5. Gutted - benedict is an awesome dish, but that looks grim. You know it's bad when you sit there thinking 'I could do better at home!)

  6. Wow, that benedict picture looks like the before shot! As in, before they cooked/did anything with it. I'd bet that the one person who was disclaiming the affiliation with Blossom was from the original Blossom, which is consistently great, and they didn't want to be connected to this crap! I can't believe that, uncooked tofu and cold ham. So mad for you!

  7. Joey, I know; it can be so impressive. They shouldn't have bothered to have it on the menu.

    Randi, Ha! I agree; the one on 9th is still my fave. Two strikes at this one. I should have known there was a reason they were always empty even with a Groupon.


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