When I was working in restaurants, I barely cooked at home. I was mainly off on Sundays and Monday. Mondays were my cooking day. I’d cook my husband and me a meal and I’d feel like I was doing something for our relationship. Sundays we would go out. I do love to eat out, though I probably don’t go out as much as the average New Yorker. I sometimes wonder if some people I know ever use their kitchens as all of their Instagram and Facebook posts are of restaurant food they have eaten.
With that being said, when I go out to eat, I barely take pictures. This is not going to make the people who read this blog entry happy, as I know you are interested in how the food I ate at Sans looked. I do have to get better at it. I have a mentality of wanting to experience and enjoy the food in the moment, rather than the show the world what I’m eating . Perhaps it also stems from my lack of good picture taking ability. I’ve been told by multiple people over the past few months that pictures are VERY important. It’s the 21st century for Pete’s sake and people do want to see what you’re talking about. I hear you!, I hear you! Next time! To make up for it(hopefully…? batting eyelashes) here’s a link to their small photo gallery on their website and Instagram page (clearly they’re not good at taking photos of their food either!)
As mentioned above, Sundays are the night my husband and I going out to eat. It is the only day we both don’t have anything to do and a great day to share a good meal not cooked by one of us. A few weeks ago, we went to Sans, a relatively new vegan restaurant in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. The chef used to work at Eleven Madison Park. He started this “One year pop-up exploring vegan food and beverage” in the Fall of 2018. I have to admit that I was a titch skeptical about how good this vegan food could be if made by a non-vegan chef. I’m a tough cookie. I want to be impressed when I go out. It doesn’t have to be fancy or schmancy really, but it does have to be thoughtful and interesting. When I scan a menu, I’m attracted to the dishes that make me stop and say hmm. wow. I’ve never thought of that before, whether it be an ingredient pairing, use of an ingredient in a different way, a revamping of a classic dish , etc. My husband is often amazed at how fast I can read a menu. This stems from the fact that I haven’t eaten meat for a really long time. (32 years!) So when I go out to a restaurant, most of which mainly serve meat, I have learned to scan really quickly for the dishes I can eat, rather than the dishes I can’t.
Onto Sans… I didn’t realize they had a tasting menu until we arrived and our server (who was the bartender and busser as well) told us. $65 for a five course tasting (amuse bouche, two appetizers, two entrees and dessert) We shared a bottle of wine that was fabulous. The
Baga, Sidonio de Sousa, Bairrada, Portugal 2013. Red is our thing and it was delicious!
Our amuse bouche was a housemade roll with vegan garlic butter. In my opinion, you can’t go wrong with bread. It was the right amount of crusty (I prefer a harder, crustier bread to a soft bread any day). And the butter had roasted garlic in it…yum.
The first dish that came out was a blini with olive juice caviar, horseradish aioli, roasted shredded celery root . I was super intrigued by the caviar. I have only eaten actual caviar once, and can say I wasn’t impressed. *though my rule of judgement on anything is usually giving it more than one try, but I can live without caviar* I have to admit, I was a little obsessed with it, and kind of harassed our server into asking the chef a million questions on how it was made. The chef generously shared information. Olive juice and agar. Huh. such a great idea! The pancakes were mini and you put the combo of sauces/olive caviar that you wanted. The saltiness and creaminess worked really well.
Next came a jerusalem artichoke (a.k.a. sunchoke) and parsnip dish with dandelion pesto. There was a creamy puree underneath with chips of parsnip and flecks of dandelion pesto. I really liked this one as I don’t eat jerusalem artichokes very often- fun fact, sunchokes are prebiotics, a good source of natural inulin and are pretty low on the glycemic scale. Apart from this, they are really tasty!
Next came a pasta dish. A conchiglioni alla vodka (or shell pasta…super fun as how often do you get shell pasta?) with tomato. Yummy!
The last savory dish was a charred onion dish with smoked onion sauce, vegan ricotta and a crouton. I LOVED this one. I can say this one was probably tied for favorite with the blini (because of creativity for the blinis and because of taste for the onion). Scrumptious. I could have licked the plate.
In my opinion, desserts were the weakest out of all the dishes. In all fairness to Sans, while I do love dessert, I’d prefer a savory dish over dessert any day. The tasting menu came with a lemon sorbet with sesame crumble. I thought the lemon sorbet was way too sour and I love lemon). The sesame was a bit too grainy. I really wanted to like this one, but I didn’t. Our server offered us another dessert, so we chose free-form donuts with a chocolate dipping sauce. Full disclosure, I don’t love chocolate. I *like* chocolate, but don’t love it. The doughnuts were a little greasy for my taste, but I won’t hold it against them.
I wanted to say hello to the chef, which I never do, because I was that impressed overall with the meal. He came out, shook our hands and I thanked him. I know that part sometimes is a bit weird for chefs, but I still wanted to say thanks. I can say it was one of my favorite vegan meals ever.
Our server gave us each a present of granola that they serve for brunch (I was feeling special until I saw another table with the bag…no snowflakes here! ) I would definitely go back and pay them another visit to see what a new season brings. I think you should too!
Sans Restaurant. 329 Smith Street, Brooklyn, NY. F or G to Carroll. http://www.sansbk.com