• soy and sake: vegan in nyc

    March 27th, 2010quarrygirlmore restaurants (not LA), NYC

    UPDATED 3/27/10: while soy & sake offers absolutely incredible vegan food, they do have a fish tank in their restaurant…and fishes do not belong in tanks. we’ve removed the fish tank photo because, well,  fish tanks suck. for the record, we do not endorse aquariums! xo

    soy & sake is manhattan is one of the loveliest places i’ve ever had the pleasure of dining. the vegetarian cafe is located in west village and serves up japanese/pan-asian cuisine with an emphasis on fake meat and sushi.

    the menu is extensive and almost entirely vegan with just a handful of clearly-indicated items containing dairy. when you visit though, i would skip through the pages of noodles and rice and head straight for the sushi…because it’s mind-blowlingly good, and like nothing available in los angeles.

    when we dined at soy and sake, we were super hungry, so we ordered the a sushi plate as an appetizer.

    vegan maki combo: tuna avocado roll, salmon avocado roll, eel avocado roll. $12

    what we started with was the vegan make combo, a plate of vegan tuna, salmon, and eel rolls. while that may sound a bit strange, it was absolutely phenomenal. first off the thing was huge. each roll was sizable and stuffed with a generous amount of fake fish. the tuna roll pictured above was my favorite—some type of soy protein all mixed up with vegan mayo.

    the “salmon” roll was superb as well—a thick slice of pink soy meat with avocado. this reminded me of the vegan ham rolls at vinh loi tofu; except slightly lighter and even more flavorful.

    lastly, the eel roll was also a home run. this came with slightly darker soy meat, and was drizzled with a fantastically sweet and tangy sauce.

    we also ordered a coupl pieces of inari (fried tofu stuffed with rice), which were very quickly polished off. with the finishing of our appetizer, i’m sad to say that the best part of our meal was over. the main dishes to follow were definitely decent, but nothing could compare to the amazingness of the sushi above.

    we ordered two entrees, which both came with a light and pleasant salad starter. the first main dish we got was pad thai chicken….

    vegan pad thai chicken: traditional thai noodles, stir fried with soy chicken,tofu, scallions, carrots, preserved radish and crushed peanuts. $9

    the noodles were mildly spiced and stir fried with vegetables, tofu, and soy chicken. overall this dish was good albeit a little bland. my big complaint is that it came with unadvertised bell peppers, which i hate.

    vegan sesame chicken: soy chicken sauteed in sesame sauce with steamed broccoli. $9

    next up, we got the sesame chicken, which came with battered soy meat and steamed broccoli. this dish was really good, and is perfect if you are looking for something heavy, meaty, and fried. although the menu doesn’t say so, this dish is actually a lot like the orange chicken you would find at a traditional chinese restaurant. it’s thick and breaded, then covered in a syrupy sweet sauce. i quite enjoyed it, although we couldn’t come close to finishing it.

    along with the amazing sushi, what really makes soy & sake stand out is the atmosphere. it feels like a nice restaurant, period…not like a nice vegetarian restaurant. the decor is lovely, the lighting is subdued, and it’s all just downright elegant.

    they even have a full bar—so you can enjoy a nice glass of beer or wine, or even a cocktail with your dinner.

    and get this—after we had basically finished our meal, on my way to the bathroom, i spotted a full on SUSHI BAR at the back of the restaurant. i almost fell over, i was so excited. this is definitely where i am sitting next time i visit soy & sake. i mean, could you imagine—sitting at a proper sushi bar and watching your rolls be prepared, knowing there is no chance of dead fish cross-contamination?!?! ooh i am giddy at the thought. not to mention, the people dining at the sushi bar were eating rolls that looked even BETTER and more elaborate than the ones we got!

    i seriously can’t wait to go back to soy & sake and have a proper sushi experience. it’s gonna be so awesome. i highly recommend you visit this place whenever you are in new york.

    soy & sake
    47 7th Ave S
    (at Commerce St)
    New York, NY 10014
    (212) 255-2848

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26 responses to “soy and sake: vegan in nyc” RSS icon

  • you have no idea how much i ache to have a spicy tuna roll again. so jealous.

  • I discovered Soy and Sake last summer in NY and my mom and I had a feast! IT was one of my most memorable lunches! The price is reasonable and the vegan sushi variety is unlike anything in LA! Totally agree, QG!

  • Vegan?! Lock up animals in glass cages for people’s entertainment…


  • Vegan sushi, still on my list of things to find in Los Angeles. (Planning a Shojin trip soon of course.)

  • I was just about to head out the door for boring old veggie sushi when I saw this post- I am now filled with jealousy!

    Holly- I can appreciate your point, but are you saying that it’s not vegan to have fish in fish tanks? Many of my vegan/vegetarian friends have fish tanks in their homes… I think this veers into a gray area of “what pets are ok to have, and what aren’t?” that I don’t think has been fully settled within the vegan community. My mother has a horse she dearly loves and treats as well as she treats me, but yeah, she also saddles her up and rides her and I know some animal rights activists are against that. At the same time, we train cats and dogs to suit our lifestyles with them, from the way they poop and pee to when they eat to suit our needs, so couldn’t *that* be construed as infringing on their rights? I know for sure I’m uncomfortable with circuses, theme parks like Sea World, and swimming with dolphins/sting rays kind of attractions. But pets that are taken care of, eh, I’m going to leave that one alone. This looks to be a very nice restaurant clearly interested in presenting a good face to their customers, so I’m pretty sure the tank is meticulously cleaned and the fish are taken care of well.

  • Hey everyone, quarrygirl here. I deleted the close up pictures of the fish. I didn’t realize that a fish tank was promoting animal cruelty—my bad. I will update the post later when I’m not on my iPhone.

    Until then, this place is still GREAT for vegan sushi!

  • As someone who’s never had sushi with fish, I’d love to be able to try something like this. Shojin is better than avocado rolls, but I really want some fishy sushi!

  • A cat or dog locked up in someone’s house is also in a cage. Any animal on this earth would prefer to be free than to be kept. That is why we keep them on leashes – so they don’t run away and become free.

  • Kudos to Quarrygirl! I can’t wait to try this place when I am in New York. I love how you looked into the fish tank issue and provided a link with info. Thanks for being so on it. I think vegans need to research issues and help eachother, not be counterproductive like Holly’s comment.

    Love this blog, please keep up the good work.

  • Excellent work and the place looks pretty awesome, overall.

    Does anyone know if they offer brown rice for the sushi?

  • re: aquariums

    God, one thing about us vegans, there’s always someone complaining about SOMETHING. Tough crowd.

  • Greg

    re:tough crowd -Bwa hahahaha!, so true.

    I pick & choose my battles; fish tanks fall into the category of buying/selling other beings , gross in any form & not appetizing at all.

  • I’m not trying to be contentious, but I’m genuinely confused about the justification/reason that fish tanks are cruel and would like to be educated on this issue- is it just fish, and if so, why? Is it also cruel to have pet snakes, turtles, hamsters? Those are all in cages. And again, back to the cat and dog thing, why is that really any different? I’m just genuinely confused, because with the exception of animals like monkeys and big cats I’ve never heard of having pets being cruel/infringing on animals’ rights. Is it because technically, the fish are being used as decor, and not as pets in an individual’s home? Thanks for any insights 🙂

  • OH, nevermind- I see the link at the top of the page. Thank you!

  • WOAH… everything looks absolutely delicious! Must. Have. Sushi.

  • Love the way you handled the aquarium issue. Well done QG, and thanks for the amazin review!

  • FYI, the Whole Foods on Montana in Santa Monica & the one on 6th and Wilshire in Santa Monica has Vegan Sushi. (standard whole foods sushi has honey in it) but there may be more that have the “V” on the box. Make sure you look. The vegan whole grain sushi at Whole Foods pretty darn good!

  • I can’t go to Soy and Sake anymore ever since I read your very own ‘operation pancake.’ You basically convinced me to avoid processed taiwanese meat analogues, since they may not even be vegetarian, much less vegan. That’s pretty much what Soy and Sake (along with its sister restaurant Red Bamboo) consists of.

  • @Milton:

    I leash my dog not to keep him from “going free,” but because I can’t trust him to look out for cars. I “leash” my two-year-old kid up when we’re in the car, too – it’s called a seat belt.

    As for my pooch wishing he could be free, he’s had hundreds of chances. We go hiking off-leash – away from busy streets – at least twice a week. He could be chasing squirrels deep in the wilderness right now, instead he jumps into the car every time – by choice.

    He’s not ‘trapped in the house,’ he just lives here.

  • veg·an
    a vegetarian who omits all animal products from the diet.

    If that’s the definition of vegan, Holly has no right to say this post is a “fail” because fish tanks don’t violate an animal-free diet.

  • Oh god, let’s please not get into a semantics debate. Those never end well.

  • Soy & Sake occupies the commercial space that previously was a “normal” sushi/Japanese restaurant, and I am almost 100% positive that the fish tanks were already there, if I remember correctly.

    Insisting that the previous tenants remove the fish tank and fish would at best result in the fish being moved to another tank somewhere else or at worst—and most likely—the fish being discarded or flushed.

    In such a situation, taking over the care of the fish is clearly the most animal-friendly solution.

  • As a fellow veggie blogger (idreamofgreenie.wordpress.com) and former sushi lover, who divides time between NYC and LA, I am SO glad you posted this… can’t wait to check it out!

  • Is inari defaultly vegan?

  • Mistopher, your dog doesn’t run away because you (or someone else) has “broken” him. He is no longer able to function in a natural environment and won’t leave you because he is dependent on you. Congrats!!!

  • Soy & Sake is one of my fave places in the city but I have never found the inari on the menu. This weekend I’m asking & not leaving without it!

    P.S. Highly recommend the veggie lover’s roll and the mixed veg tempura roll to go along with the amazong peanut avo roll. Also, tempura & fried shrimp are fab!

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