Fusion cooking is so much a part of restaurant culture in the twenty-first century that almost nothing raises an eyebrow any more. I must confess, however, when I first got wind of Cadence, which opened in Alphabet City on Wednesday, both eyebrows went up.
The restaurant’s pedigree is vegan soul food — a classification that seems about as oxymoronic as you can get. Yet Shenarri “Greens” Freeman, who relocated to New York from D.C. in 2019 to obtain a degree at the Institute for Culinary Education, is already turning heads with her novel creations, which combine the old-world earthiness of down-home cooking with the lightness of plants.
Witness southern-fried lasagna, a dish Freeman knew as a child, completed at Cadence by a red wine Bolognese, pine nut ricotta, and spinach ($21). Or smoked grits augmented by torched oyster mushrooms, rosemary butter, corn and tomato salsa, and crispy garlic ($21).
Cadence is the most recent addition to the Overthrow Hospitality chain forged by restauranteur Ravi DeRossi that seek to graft plant-based cooking techniques and ingredients onto the cuisines of the world.
Cadence, 22 E. 7th Street (at Ave. A), 833-328-4588.