Meatless Monday at Dovetail

It’s become a tradition when my sister is in town that my entire family goes out for “fancy dinner” together. In the past we’ve gone to Babbo and Felidia, to name a few. As the resident New Yorker and food blogger, it usually falls to me to pick the restaurant. A few months ago my mom had sent me an article from a magazine about Dovetail, an upscale restaurant on the Upper West Side that participates in the Meatless Monday movement. I thought it looked interesting and filed the information away for later use. When my sister, who is also a vegetarian, came into town last week, the first idea I had for our family dinner was Dovetail.

Three of us opted for the prixe fix menu, at $46 a pretty good value for three courses (plus dessert) at a high-end restaurant. You can choose from a large selection of dishes, some vegetarian, some vegan, and some “vegetable focused”, meaning they contained some meat or seafood but they are still centered on the vegetables. We also received an amuse bouche plate at the start of the meal, seen at the top — in the spoon is a mix of snow peas and watermelon radish tossed with a flavorful vinaigrette, and next to that is a baby falafel, sitting on a dab of tahini. Both of these packed a ton of flavor into tiny bites.

My first course was called “Avocado”, and was one of the vegan options on the menu. The creamy wedges of avocado were matched with ingredients of varying textures: jicama, strawberries, and potato chips.

My second course was “Crispy Cauliflower” (I’ve been on a bit of a cauliflower kick lately), served with boiled quail eggs, snow peas, and jerk spice. Unfortunately there was a level of finesse missing in this dish. The cauliflower pieces were breaded and fried like tiny fried chicken drumsticks, but the eggs were room temperature, making the runny yolks feel almost watery in my mouth. Nothing tasted bad, but it wasn’t a complete dish.

Luckily the “Spinach Ravioli”, my next dish, was my favorite of the night. The ravioli were filled with incredibly creamy spinach, and the sauce was a wonderful mix of basil, preserved lemons, fava beans, and artichokes. I could have eaten a hundred of these.

My buttermilk cake dessert was paired with fresh figs and sweet corn ice cream (the ice cream being the reason I ordered the dish in the first place). It was good, not great, and I wish the figs had been a little riper. The cake itself was moist and delicious, and brought all of the disparate elements together.

Vegetarian food is not always given much thought at fancy restaurants, so it was refreshing to eat at a restaurant that showcased such marvelously composed plates and interesting flavors.

Dovetail — 103 W 77th St

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