Restaurant Review: Caravan of Dreams

Caravan of Dreams
405 East 6th Street
(between Avenue A and 1st Avenue)
East Village, Manhattan

Vegiboys Rating (3.5/4)

Since 1991, Spanish expat Angel Moreno has been serving up seasonal, organic meals to the NYC community with his restaurant Caravan of Dreams. The restaurant’s unassuming exterior and the comfortably rustic dining room give great vibes to Caravan’s space.

With dimmed lighting and nightly live music providing a calming feel to the dinner service, the restaurant is also a great location for a date — for much of our dinner there, we enjoyed eavesdropping on the awkward conversations of courtship taking place at neighboring tables.

But the restaurant’s most enjoyable feature is the labyrinthine menu. The options overwhelm with dozens of made-to-order smoothies and juices, equally vast selections of raw and cooked appetizers and entrées, and no shortage of salads, soups, sandwiches, à la carte vegan snacks, and desserts. Caravan gives a special attention to health in its dishes, with many intentionally designed to have greater alkalinity to better balance out acid-heavy diets, and with a special effort to make use of under-appreciated ingredients and “superfoods”.

We started with a surprise amuse bouche, made from a deliciously fresh bite of turnip atop a rich, pesto-like cream.

In our previous experiences with Caravan of Dreams, the beverages have been unpredictable: some of what we’ve experimented with in the past has veered towards being too medicinally sweet or unpalatably swampy. For this visit though, our drinks were absolutely amazing… My Caravan Cocktail (a coconut shake with almond butter and cinnamon) had the wonderful flavor of raw cookie dough in a liquid form. Brian’s refreshing mixed berry smoothie (made from a coconut and cashew milk ice cream) seemed infinitely deep, quenching thirst throughout all of the dinner’s courses.

We officially kicked off our dinner with an appetizer special of sautéed spinach and Enokitake mushrooms — everything tasted incredibly fresh and well-seasoned (characteristics which we were happy to find carried through the entire meal).

For our entrées, a Hefeweisen tempeh special had deliciously beer-battered faux-meat atop spinach and a mashed turnip base, all bathed in a beautifully composed gravy. A bit of pickled beet helped to add contrast, creating a sort of vegan interpretation of wiener schnitzel.

From the regular menu, Brian’s zucchini squash spaghetti (with meatballs made from Brazil nuts and sesame) was fun and unique, with thinly sliced zucchini strands dressed with a sun-dried tomato marinara, olives, and basil. While eating it, we could easily have forgotten that the dish was entirely raw, attesting to the skill of the kitchen.

Finishing off the meal, we wisely chose the chocolate açaí berry pie. We were surprised that this raw dish had such a strongly chocolatey flavor; the tart berries’ taste was noticeable, but not at all overpowering – chocolateliness definitely reigned over the dish.

At $47 each, the bill ran a bit higher than the average vegetarian venue, but the cost was well worth the experience. Our food was amazing, the atmosphere was perfectly composed, and the service was consistently strong throughout the night, making Caravan of Dreams an excellent value among the many vegetarian choices of the East Village.

Food (3.5/4)

Atmosphere & Service

Value (3/4)

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