Food & Drink

Pure Genius

“A lot of places would like to claim this, but we really can: A meal here could change your life.”

Pretty big ambitions for a trendy new restaurant. But Pure Food and Wine, from chefs Matthew Kenney (Commune, Matthew’s, Commissary), Sarma Melngailis, and restaurateur Jeffrey Chodorow, is no ordinary eatery.

For starters, they don’t cook the food. Everything is made entirely of raw fruits and vegetables. Raw food was once the province of hippies, but Pure is positioning it for maximum hipster appeal. The space, formerly Verbena, is lush and comfy but not fussy; the patio is stunning. Cheeky pix of animals line the walls. (You’d look happy, too, if you weren’t being eaten.) Winning appetizers include shiitake-avocado-and-pickled-ginger sushi rolls; spicy Thai lettuce wraps; and cucumber summer rolls. For a main course, have zucchini-and-tomato lasagne (best thing on the menu) or red-beet ravioli. Stick to the fruit desserts.

The staff look like they’d rather be back on the sustainable agriculture farm. And, okay, we woke up at 3 a.m. peckish for a steak.

But who knows how this place will affect you.

Pure Food and Wine, 54 Irving Place, between 17th and 18th Streets (212-477-1010).