• sushi and the city: soy and sake!

    January 9th, 2011quarrygirlmore restaurants (not LA), NYC

    soy and sake is a great little vegetarian restaurant in nyc’s west village that specializes in asian cuisine. we visited the place last year and had a fantastic meal, so we made it a point to return on our recent trip to manhattan. this time we took along one of our favorite sushi buddies, and tore it up with loads of soy and several bottles of sake.

    we started with a few simple single-ingredient rolls for the table to share: avocado, oshinko, and asparagus.

    sushi rolls: avocado, oshinko, and asparagus. $2 each

    these were delicious and all gone within seconds.

    crunchy roll and vegetable roll. $5 each

    next up our dining companion, this.charming.man, ordered two of the fancier sushi options: the crunchy and the vegetable. the vegetable was a standard blend of avocado, cucumber and asparagus…while the crunchy contained some sort of soy tuna mixture.

    dragon roll: soy eel and cucumber topped with avocado. $11

    for my main course, i opted for the dragon roll: a massive beast filled with soy eel and cucumber, all topped off with sliced avocado and sauce. soy and sake is a VEGETARIAN restaurant, not vegan, so beware when ordering. (fake meats that contain dairy products have a special symbol next to them on the menu.) the dragon roll was freaking awesome…the chewy soy meat went perfectly with the rich avocado and salty sauce. the sushi at this place is tops!

    black pepper beef: Soy beef w. black peppers sautéed in fresh mushroom gravy, served w. a side of asparagus spears, zucchini, sweet corn mashed potatoes and yellow squash. $11

    my husband went with an entree of epic proportions: the black pepper beef. this plate came absolutely STACKED with soy meat, black pepper, gravy, and vegetables. plus, it was served with a huge clump of creamy mashed potatoes that were just incredible. a little weird to be eating mashed potatoes at a vegetarian asian restaurant, i know, but they were so good!

    we also got a plate of steamed vegetables to share. can’t go wrong with that…

    steamed vegetables!

    overall, it was a great night, and i just can’t fault the food at soy and sake. the service was on point as well, and both the sake and wine (not pictured) really hit the spot. this is probably my favorite place to get vegan sushi on the planet.

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

    PS: some people have emailed me with concerns about the fake meats at this place and whether or not they are actually vegan. i think it’s always good to proceed with caution/avoid unknown fake meat when possible, especially after operation pancake…but something about the fact that soy and sake actually says certain meats AREN’T vegan on the menu makes me feel better. i don’t know though, i could be wrong! please leave a comment if you have any opinions on or information about this matter.

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12 responses to “sushi and the city: soy and sake!” RSS icon

  • Gauri Radha गौरी राधा

    It all looks delicious!!

  • I was super impressed when I went to Soy and Sake last winter but since eating at Shojin, I have to say it pales in comparison. Except for their “Peking Duck.” That’s pretty amazeballs.

  • It’s quite comical that the reviewer speaks so positively about Soy and Sake, ignoring the many flaws but the other day eviscerated Cha-Ya like a angry, drunk, surgeon.

    Soy and Sake is one of the cheesiest veg establishments I’ve ever been too. The first feeling I get upon entering is I feel I have entered a cheap Japanese restaurant in a town like Pocatello, Idaho or Youngstown, Ohio. Ugly glass ceiling, ugly floors, cheesy fishtank, cheesy bar (have never seen anyone sitting at the bar.)

    Soy and Sake is owned by the infamous Jason Wong. Jason Wong and family own Red Bamboo, Vegetarian Paradise. Around six to eight years ago, Red Bamboo was caught lying to people about their meats being vegan. A dumpster diver went into their garbage and saw packages for their mock meats where the label stated the product contained whey protein. A lot of vegans stopped going and his business suffered as a result. Because of this Red Bamboo now lists what is and what is not vegan.

    If you think this was a mistake and unintentional, guess again as Mr. Wong imports the product himself directly from Taiwan. In fact, Mr. Wong wholesales mock meats to restaurants around NYC.
    I personally know of at least one of his clients who sells the meat without letting people know it is not vegan.

    At the start of 2010, Mr. Wong closed his 2nd location of Red Bamboo in Brooklyn to open a restaurant that serves meat. You can read about the switch here where the author of this articles acts as if vegetarianism is dying simply because Mr. Wong converted his restaurant and his diet to meat.

    With that said, I frequented Soy and Sake quite a few times before I discovered it was owned by Mr. Wong (I asked employees numerous times if the owner had other restaurants and they denied it) and while the decor was cheesy, cheap, and unattractive, some of the food was decent. I do not consume any of the mock meats because studies have shown many of the Taiwanese mock meats are actual animal flesh (not just dairy but actual flesh) and most of them contain dairy not to mention MSG, trans fat, etc.

    The menu here is loaded with mock meats so if you avoid these, there are very few options. Personally, I get the bento box with tempura, sushi, salad, etc. I do wonder if they were willing to lie about the mock meat then are they willing to lie about egg in the batter of the tempura. Probably.

    Cha-Ya sushi is 100 times better, IMO.

  • oh cool, thanks for clearing up the issue about the fake meats! i appreciate it. 🙂

    i figured that soy and sake was legit because they that certain items contain dairy. in the future though, i will stick to the tofu and vegetable dishes.

    cha-ya still totally sucks though. eww.

  • Where can I find these studies that show many of the Taiwanese mock meats are actual animal flesh?

  • Just google it.
    It’s quite scary actually, fake fake-meat! I visited Taiwan in December and avoided the faux meats as far as possible 🙂
    ps: omygosh, stinky tofu rules.

  • Cha-Ya sushi is 100 times better, IMO.

    WE’RE TALKING NYC NOT WEST COAST! I can rave about restaurants in Bali, Indonesia too but that’s not here nor there. duh

  • There’s a vegetarian sushi place in a suburb of Toronto that does all the mock fish sushi and sashimi. I went on the advice of a blog post that it was vegan. When I got there I asked and it turns out that all of the mock fish contains dairy.

  • y.d., this blog recently discussed a review of Cha-ya. I am simply stating my opinion that there is no comparison between the two establishments.

    I, like the authors, travel frequently between the two coasts.

    Next time shut your yap.

  • Gauv,

    On study showed that 16% of mock meats tested contained animal flesh. Operation Pancake was not the first of its kind.

    Mock meats are imported into the U.S. and repackaged and sold at Whole Foods and health food stores. The frozen food section of Whole Foods sells these. Many of the delis and hot bars have these mock meats. Wholesalers import it and sell it to companies who turn around and retail the product to consumers or wholesale it to restaurants.

    Many of the Asian vegan or vegetarian restaurants in the U.S. use a lot of these meats. There are literally hundreds of restaurants using these meats. Thankfully most non-Asian vegetarian restaurants do not use these meats. Unfortunately some do.

    I have avoided these mock meats for over a decade for a number of reasons, primarily because a third world country does not have the same food safety laws as the U.S. does. Many people do not even trust large U.S. food manufacturers, so how can we trust small to medium size companies in a third world country who don’t even know how to spell common words?

  • BTW i am the one who reviewed soy and sake. i DID NOT review cha-ya. if you look under the title of each post, it says who the author is.

  • Very helpful post!

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