Had some really good eats in New York recently, despite the fact that we traveled on a whim and didn't do any research into restaurants. One of those places was One Lucky Duck, the teeny-tiny raw foods takeaway with three teeny-tiny tables that's around the corner from and connected to the kitchen of Pure Food and Wine. Pure Food and Wine is one of New York's most hyped raw food restaurants, but, alas, it's only open for dinner. That's how we found ourselves around the corner at One Lucky Duck, essentially Pure Food and Wine's takeaway venue.
I've been interested in a raw food diet for a couple of years now, and have only recently started purposely trying to incorporate more raw food meals into my diet (going solid for even a week would never happen with my zero willpower), for no real reason other than I'd like to eat a little more healthfully. I have no intention of giving up cooked food, but am simply looking at raw foods as a new type of cooking...or, I guess, that would be non-cooking.
You probably eat raw occasionally without even thinking about it. That smoothie with bananas, berries, and ice: raw! That salad with lettuce, cucumber and tomato dressed with vinegar and olive oil: raw! Well, maybe the olive oil and vinegar you used weren't technically raw, but there is raw olive oil and vinegar out there to be had.
Those are simple raw dishes to make, but the lengths that some raw foodists go to make some foods -- soaking nuts and blending them into creams, sprouting grains, dehydrating flax slurries to make crackers -- is more than I have patience for, or proper equipment for in my own kitchen. And that's why I was excited to have Pure Food and Wine's kitchen do the prep for me.These spicy Thai lettuce wraps with mango, pea shoots, carrots, cabbage, cashews, and tamarind sauce were great, and not unlike lettuce wraps found at non-raw food restaurants. The outer wrap was actually a collard (or maybe a cabbage) leaf oiled and lightly massaged to make the leaf more tender. The spicy sun dried tomato tortilla wraps with corn cilantro guacamole, tomato-lime salsa, and cashew sour cream were my least favorite, and I would not order them again. The sun dried tomato wrap was a bit salty, and that's a lot of guacamole! Even eating just one was a bit much, so don't ask how one eats all three. Since I'm not on a 100% raw food diet -- heck, I'm not even on a 10% raw food diet -- I don't need to fat-load on avocados and nuts like raw foodists do to get fats and feel sated. I have baked cookies and bread for that. I did enjoy the cashew sour cream, as it reminded me of Tofutti sour cream, and for some reason I just love Tofutti sour cream. Remember back on Top Chef season 4 when the lovable spaz, Andrew "I've got a culinary boner" got kicked off for making raw sushi (not with raw fish, but with all raw vegetables) as a healthy lunch for fatso cops, and Padma and Tom were less than thrilled? Well, I thought it was a brilliant idea, and afterward was just dying to try raw sushi, so jumped at the chance to try One Lucky Duck's sushi rolls.
There's not much different with a raw sushi roll than a regular veggie sushi roll other than the soy sauce is unpasteurized, the nori is untoasted, and, well, you gotta substitute something for the cooked rice. One Lucky Duck subbed grated jicama and pine nuts for the rice (Andrew used parsnips and pine nuts), and the results were quite nice. There was a slight textural difference with the "rice," but nothing that would make me twist my face like Padma and Tom. Really, the raw sushi was almost identical to normal sushi. I even dug the raw slices of ginger. Oh, good God, the raw desserts looked decadent. And they had decadent price tags! Most single servings of desserts were in the $5-$12 range, but a square of tiramisu will set you back $15!
Yeah, nothing at One Lucky Duck is cheap. Raw food restaurants ain't cheap, people. But it can be amazingly good...and good for you.
One Lucky Duck
125 1/2 E. 17th St., New York, NY, 10003