Earlier this year the beloved UWS outpost of the Blossom vegan restaurant empire shuttered; luckily, another offshoot of the popular cafe recently opened in the neighborhood, meaning Upper West Siders weren't deprived of multiple means to get their seitan chicken fingers and bean burgers for long (there's another outlet in the West 60s). Say hello to Blossom du Jour.
You won't find the extraordinary soy bacon cheeseburger here, but you'll be no means go hungry. The cafe boasts a menu full of both virtuous and splurge-worthy vegan dishes, like the hefty Skyscraper ($8.50), stacked with a vegan Boca burger, vegan bacon, vegan cheese, fried onions rings, lettuce, pickle, tomato and special sauce. An even better burger option is their delicious, gluten-free Beet Burger ($8.75), a homemade beet-mushroom-onion patty topped with horseradish vegan mayo, lettuce, tomato and served on gluten-free pullman bread.
Vegan food doesn't mean low-cal, especially when it comes to the cafe's super cheesy melt-style sandwiches. The Seitan Philly Cheese Steak ($9.25) won't fool meatheads, but the toothsome, seasoned wheat gluten product has tons of flavor and a meat-like chew that's firmly on the decadent side of the lifestyle. Combine that with soft, sauteed peppers and onions, a boatload of vegan cheese and a healthy squirt of chipotle aioli and you won't miss the cow and dairy one single bit.
"I definitely wanted people to have exciting, satisfying and delicious vegan options. Animals don't need to suffer and unhealthy conventional ingredients don't need to be used in order for food to be exciting," explains owner Pamela Elizabeth. "Gone are the days of vegan food being perceived as boring or uncreative."
Gut busting sandwiches aside, the cafe also does healthful salads like the popular Karmic Kale Salad ($9.50), tossed with pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries and a light dressing of tahini, olive oil, garlic, lemon and salt. They do a whole gluten-free section as well, which Elizabeth says they always keep in mind when creating new menu options. Among them, a Quesadilla ($8.95) with black beans, corn, vegan cheese and salsa and a Breakfast Scramble Wrap ($8.95) with savory tofu, peppers, onions, herbs and spices.
Asked whether she's had trouble convincing carnivores to walk through the door, Elizabeth says it's been easy. "Our menu is extremely approachable, and boasts familiar favorites that we've veganized which makes people feel comfortable," she says. "Also, many carnivores want to eat vegan or vegetarian at least once a week for health reasons." No strong-arming necessary when it comes to sweets either; the cafe bakes up vegan cupcakes, cakes, cookies and even a vegan Cronut creation. Plus, dairy free shakes in flavors like Chocolate Peppermint Pattie and Blossom Butterfinger.
Blossom du Jour is located at 449 Amsterdam Avenue between 81st and 82nd Streets, 212-712-9822; website.