Jay Astafa is on a mission to show the New York City dining scene that vegan dining can be elegant, delicious, fun, and most importantly doesn’t require a menu filled with meat and dairy replicas. The 20-year old Chef and graduate of the Natural Gourmet Institute, explains that “it’s [his] mission…to show people that you can have a fun, gourmet dining experience that doesn’t have to harm animals.” The best way to prove his point? An 8-course tasting menu at his two-day pop-up restaurant, Jay Kitchen. The pop-up restaurant also acts as a prelude to what is to come when he opens his flagship restaurant location, also named Jay Kitchen, later this year.
Using modern technique with a focus on the beauty of spring vegetables, Astafa has created a menu that celebrates vegetables while featuring homemade cashew cheeses, butters, pasta*, and dessert. The dessert course is a collaboration between Astafa and his close friend, Dani McGrath, a 23-year old vegan pastry chef and animal activist. Astafa considers himself a “culinary activist” and his work benefits not only animals but the environment and the overall health of the community. The two-day vegan dining experience is $95 and includes complementary wine pairings, provided by the Vegan Vine, and other beverages.
The all vegan menu includes a King Oyster Mushroom Scallop with aged balsamic caviar and green pea puree, Spring Crostini Duo with ramps and cashew chèvre, sorrel-mint pesto, pea tendrils, green peas, and cashew parmesan, Chilled Potato & Leek Soup with chive olive oil foam, Ravioli with Asparagus, ricotta, house made cashew cream butter, cashew parmesan, Smoked Cauliflower Steak with sunchoke puree, morels, fava beans, snap peas, green garlic, truffle vinaigrette, shaved black summer truffles, a House-Made Cheese Plate with aged cashew cheese and brie, strawberry-rhubarb compote, orange-scented vegan honey, rosemary-almond crackers, and Dani McGrath’s Grand Marnier-Infused Chocolate Tart with pistachio gelato, raspberry coulis, pistachio tuile, raspberry pop candy, and fleur de sel salted caramel powder, as well as secret before dessert treat.
*gluten free pasta option available upon request
The Jay Kitchen pop-up kitchen event will be held at the Old Bowery Station (168 Bowery) on Thursday, April 25th and Friday, April 26th at 7pm. Click here to purchase your tickets.