Restaurant Review: Blossom Du Jour

Blossom Du Jour
174 9th Avenue
(between 20th Street and 21st Street)
Chelsea, Manhattan

165 Amsterdam Avenue
(between 67th Street and 68th Street)
Upper West Side, Manhattan

Vegiboys Rating (3.5/4)

In a stroke of luck, we learned of the brand new Blossom Du Jour’s opening on the day itself as we sought a quick-eats location for dinner. Our anticipation for the restaurant had been building after their few last-minute opening postponements (the opening had been cancelled at the 11th hour several times since August), and we nearly thought this to be yet another false start for the Blossom crew: I arrived to find the windows papered over and the door locked.

While standing outside and giving a call to the en-route Brian (preparing to fall to backup plans for the evening’s meal), a frantic character emerged from the papered storefront to assure me that the restaurant would be open in half an hour, leaving me with a menu to peruse before falling back into the mystery behind the windows.

So Brian and I stuck around. Half an hour passed, and another employee emerged to assure us that they were a mere 10 minutes from opening. After about 15 minutes, the paper was pulled from the windows, and the doors were unlocked, with the Vegiboys entering as the restaurant’s first customers of the evening.

The space is bright, clean, and sleek: a white, space-age capsule entirely unlike the Blossom mother restaurant’s feel. With the curves of the custom interior design work, inset TV screens displaying the day’s menu offerings, and automat-style refrigerator doors along one wall, it has all the feel of a 1959 World’s Fair vision of the future.

The counter in the full front window is a perfect people watching spot, and was an exciting place to be for their opening night. The Chelsea crowd coming home from work, walking their dogs, and chatting in the street all passed before us, and almost all took great interest in the newly revealed restaurant bestowed upon their neighborhood. Most just popped in to grab a copy of the menu, but Brian and I quickly had the company of a solid handful of additional patrons placing orders, making the small space comfortably full.

The menu has a variety of burgers, wraps, snacks, and other items notorious for quick preparation and quick consumption. I went with their signature Skyscraper burger. Brian, at the suggestion of the counter, chose the Midtown Melt. They did not have the buffalo bites on-hand to our disappointment, so we (wisely) chose the mac & cheese instead. We also pulled a Tru power juice to drink from the fridge and requested a piece of chocolate mousse pie for dessert.

With the décor suggesting mass production and manufactured foods, I must say my expectation was for a slightly haute-cuisine version of White Castle-style cheese-soaked rations.

And the food did arrive in the usual heat-reflective fast-food wrappers, but when unveiled, an entirely novel approach lay within: fast food, beautifully done.

The appearance did not attempt (like the late Zen Burger) to mirror the sad, crushed, unnaturally-colored appearance of typical fast food chains’ fare. Instead, these were exquisite creations: beautifully textured golden breads with fresh ingredients, wonderful aromas, and amazing tastes.

My burger was coated with soy bacon, vegan cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles, and onion rings. A special sauce put its already great flavor into the category of superb. Brian’s vegan cheese melt held a cajun-spiced seitan, guacamole, and lettuce, with an aioli adding some impressive depth to the flavors. For the mac and cheese, vegan cheese once again bound the ingredients together, with a sun-dried tomato pesto atop some hearty pasta, and with its smoky flavor bringing yet another expected dimension to our meal.

The Tru juice offered a curious mix of kale, spinach, cucumber, apple, lemon, and ginger, yet was well-blended and refreshing. The chocolate mousse pie was also a surprise of rich chocolate flavor and smooth texture.

At $17 each, the price was a little more than the usual fast food meal, but comparable to other fast food vegi-establishments like Terri, and the food merits the cost. Perfect as a regular lunch stop for those working in the area, the menu has plenty that can satisfy dinner desires too. It was a long time in coming, but Blossom Du Jour was well worth the wait, as it offers a far more elegant approach to fast food then anything else out there. So long as they can maintain their current culinary standards, the Blossom vision for expanding the Du Jour restaurants to a city-wide chain could revolutionize New York’s vegetarian eating, but for now, it totally deserves the trip to Chelsea.

Food (4/4)
Atmosphere & Service
Value (3/4)

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