Sunday, January 9, 2011

Soy & Sake. What More Do You Need?

Where can a vegan go to feast on Peking Ribs, Pork Buns, Coconut Shrimp, all kinds of fancy sushi rolls, and more? Soy & Sake, of course! In this city with an abundance of great vegan eats, Soy & Sake is one of the more underrated vegan havens. That's a shame, because they are serving some of the tastiest and most creative vegan food that I've had the pleasure of sampling, and I'm eagerly looking forward to my next visit.

I went for dinner with some friends recently, and we were overwhelmed by the dazzling array of menu options. I only remember seeing three items on the entire menu that were not vegan, and these were clearly marked to let you know that the items contained casein and/or whey. As I mentioned before, I've only recently delved into the world of vegan seafood, because, well, it kind of scared me. I just thought that seafood, in both taste and texture, would be much more difficult to replicate in a vegan form. I will have you know that I have seen the light. I have been converted. Vegan seafood can be absolutely delicious and taste just like the "real" thing, without all the environmental destruction, the toxins, and, you know, killing and stuff. And Soy & Sake had some of the very best vegan seafood that I've tasted yet.

We started our dinner with some Coconut Shrimp and Pork Buns. The shrimp were so deliciously crunchy and coconutty (is that a word?), and tasted exactly like I remembered them. I've never had real pork buns before, but these were great. The bun itself was soft and spongy, and the "pork" filling inside had a savory barbecue flavor that was utterly addictive. They actually brought us out a small bowl of some extra filling, and we couldn't stop eating it.

Coconut "Shrimp"

"Pork" Buns with some extra "pork" filling on the side
For our entrees, we shared some of the Lemon Fish and Peking Duck. Weirdly, none of the items I have mentioned so far are listed on their online menu, so be assured that they actually offer even more options than what is listed. The lemon fish was lightly seasoned, with just a hint of ocean flavor from seaweed, so not overly "fishy," and came with a side of steamed vegetables. This was probably the healthiest dish we had, but also very tasty. The Peking Duck, however, was incredible. It came with wrappers that seem to have been made from the same type of dough as the Pork Buns, shredded scallions, and a delicious hoisin sauce. The roasted "duck" had a very authentic flavor, and I think we all could have eaten another plate of these.

Lemon "Fish"
Peking "Duck"
But of course we also had to sample some of their specialty sushi rolls. When I ate fish, sushi was one of my favorite things to eat, so I was excited and a little scared to taste vegan sushi. Now, even though these weren't imitating raw fish flavor, these sushi rolls were absolutely, mind-blowingly good. They tasted fishy, but not too much.We got a "Black Dragon" roll, which was soy crab and avocado, topped with eel, and a "Volcano" roll, which was a fried roll filled with spicy tuna, cucumber, and asparagus. They both came with their own specialty sauces as well. I am now officially hooked on vegan sushi, and can't wait to go back and try more rolls.

Black Dragon Roll: soy crab & avocado, topped with eel
Volcano Roll: deep fried roll with spicy tuna, cucumber, & asparagus

Stuffed as we were, we agreed to share a small bowl of pistachio vegan ice cream, because we all agreed that vegan pistachio is surprisingly hard to find. It was a perfect pistachio ice cream, complete with the familiar green hue. Not only that, but they also serve Vegan Treats there, and we were indeed treated to a slice of Oreo Cookie Cake - rich, sweet, decadent, heavenly, Oreo Cookie Cake. The desserts didn't really fit with the Asian theme of the rest of our meal, but who cares, because it was all vegan and all delicious. Vegan good things, for sure.

Pistachio vegan ice cream
Oreo Cookie Cake from Vegan Treats

Happy diners at Soy & Sake (that's me on the left).

Soy & Sake Village
47 7th Ave. South (between Bleecker & Morton St.)
New York, NY 10014


  1. Did you know that you are the only person that could possibly entice me into attempting to go veghead...the food you make and talk about always looks so amazing!

  2. Those eats looks amazing. When I get to NY I have to try this place!

  3. Oh my goodness! My mouth is watering terribly after hearing about this! I have been completely vegan for well over a year with the tiny exception of sushi. It was my horrible weakness and vice. It was my new year's resolution to completely cut it out. If I had known there was vegan sushi that looked this good, I would've cut it out a long time ago!

  4. that looks amazing! Kind of like ChuChai in Montreal?
    ps. Have you ever hear of Natural Gourmet Institute in NY?

  5. @sweetliketea - Yes, I love ChuChai in Montreal! And yes, I know NGI very well, I've taken several vegan cooking classes there!

  6. hi there! love this post- especially since it was SUCH a yummy & fun dinner! I think I'm addicted, having pavlovian response just thinking about the food...need to go back ASAP. Cute picture- hehehe, except my head looks giant, boo. x-VKO

  7. i really need to go to nyc, if for no other reason than to dine, with options. this looks fabulous!

  8. soy & sake is amazing! i went there to celebrate my birthday and the service was great & the food was amazing. all my non vegan friends loved it. i even got a free shot :P
    if you like vegan asian food, try Buddha Bodai in chinatown- it is pretty much my fave in new york. it has a full menu of vegan dim sum (with one or 2 items with eggs- clearly marked) and the best homemade vegan cheesecake.

  9. Buddha Bodai is another favorite of mine too! :)