Monday, February 10, 2014
Filling Our Hearts and Bellies at Oneness Fountain Heart
After a full week of indulging in Florida, Dan and I were in the mood for something lighter, and therefore jumped at the chance to have dinner at the Oneness Fountain Heart restaurant in Flushing. The inspiration for this restaurant intrigued me, as it pays homage to a well known spiritual leader and "a champion of peace," Sri Chinmoy, boasting an eclectic vegetarian menu.
Located very much off the beaten path in Flushing, Oneness is a place you must access by car, but once you get there you'll be glad you made the trip. I must say that from the outside, it doesn't much look like a restaurant or cafe, as the space is ultra bright - seeming to be illuminated by a multitude of lamps as well as gold wall fixtures that reflect light.
Once we stepped inside, we were welcomed by a bright and colorful dining room, adorned with more lamps, fountains and a concave ceiling that was further illuminated and made the room feel more spacious. There were a few people inside, enjoying a leisurely dinner, but overall the restaurant was relaxed and subdued, representing its spiritual inspiration quite well. It's certainly a place to relax and wind down after a long hard day.
Another aspect of Oneness that totally fascinated me was their chef who happens to be Czech. Naturally, being from Slovakia, I wanted to meet Chef Horejsi and was totally surprised that a vegetarian and an Asian friendly menu would come from someone from a culture very much dependent on meat.
Appetizers - We started with two hearty appetizers, including these gorgeous zucchini rollups (pictured above) and the nacho blues chips. The first was the most interesting to me, partly due to its sophisticated presentation and also because of the amazing colors it had going on. The inside was stuffed with a a walnut paste that seemed almost meaty, and together it created a deliciously vibrant bite.
Entrees - Inspired by the Asian style dishes on the menu, Dan and I went with the Mongolian Beef and the raw coconut Pad Thai. Both were vegetarian of course, but you could've fooled anyone's with Dan's "beef," which was substituted with seitan, coated in a tasty soy glaze. Loving the juxtaposition of the tender "beef" with the crispy fresh veggies, we took turns devouring this dish.
My Pad Thai was a nice choice as well, also representing a full spectrum of colors and textures. I enjoyed the thin strips of carrots, zucchini and coconut that served as the "pasta."
Dessert - Definitely the highlight of the meal for me, the Berry Dream (aka Cashew Cream with Blueberries) blew us out of the water with its delicate texture and lightness with each bite. The berries provided a touch of earthy freshness and a beautiful color contrast.
Another home run dessert was the homemade passion fruit, which was also a fluffy mousse confection with pretty dollops of passion fruit puree. We certainly enjoyed it in the cold, but I imagine this dessert to be lovely in the warm summer months as well.
Service and Cost:
The waitstaff at Oneness is lovely, totally low-key and modest, just like the restaurant. We enjoyed hearing about Chef Horejsi's background, learning that he's been a chef for 10 years, experimenting both in NY and Paris. Overall, it was wonderful to see a new innovative take on vegetarian food, and for once it not seeming like an afterthought but instead the main event.
Costs are very reasonable and include:
Appetizers - $4.75 - $8.95
Entrees - $6.95 - $13.95
Desserts - $4.50 - $4.95
Oneness Fountain Heart - 157-19 72nd Avenue, Flushing NY 11367