Beyond Sushi: Mind-blowing VEGAN sushi - Is that your brain splattered against the concrete?  

October 20, 2012

For a quick recap of the meal, check out the slide show at the bottom of the post. 

The unassuming store-front with sexy vegan food inside... 

Rating: ◊◊◊◊ ½ 

Here’s a question: can vegan food be sexy? When we talk about sexy foods, oysters, foie gras and chocolate are usually involved. But, what about vegetables and grains?

Now, most people (myself included) probably feel that the words “vegan” and “reckless abandon” are not symbiotic. It’s understandable, really. More often than not, vegan food comprises of some combination of tasteless tofu and tasteless vegetables with a side of tasteless starch. How are you supposed to feel deliciously wild and naughty when your entire meal feels like cardboard in your mouth?

Well, pack your wallet and give yourself a spank because Beyond Sushi is definitely wild. This tiny eatery offers various vegan maki rolls, customs sauces, rice paper wraps and individual nigiri-style pieces that are big on flavor, low on fat and zero on meat.

The Beyond Sushi crew. 
For maximum variety, A. and I chose Combo 2 (2 maki rolls and 2 individual pieces) and the hand roll sampler. When the food came, I was awestruck by how pretty it was. The black rice had a deep, gorgeous purple hue and the vegetables were bright and fresh. It’s undeniably the kind of food you want to be eating when out with a hot date. In fact, the maki rolls looked exactly like they did on the menu – a difficult achievement if you think about the transformative powers of food styling.

Sushi wall art? Warhol, eat your heart out! 
When it came to flavor, I was blown away. After my first bite, I immediately realized that it was nothing like my expectations. Rather than a substitute for real sushi, these rolls are a virile and heedlessly original celebration of everything green. The Spicy Mang was crunchy and tangy yet creamy and luscious. The Mighty Mushroom had a beautiful interplay between the velvety earthiness of the shitake teriyaki sauce and the light, tender strands of enoki mushroom tucked within. Fish or no fish, it really felt like I was eating perfectly prepared sushi.

Spicy Mang (Left) and Mighty Mushroom (Right). 
I dare you to tell me this doesn't look delicious. The hand rolls were also excellent. Unlike other places, Beyond Sushi’s temaki rolls are packed with only a thin layer of rice. The fillings are stuffed to the very tip of the roll – you’re never left with a clump of flavorless mush as your last bite. On top of this, these rolls were wonderfully complex. With ingredients like shitake, avocado, daikon pickle, gobo root, pickled ginger, and alfalfa sprouts, the rolls showcased a rare understanding of how to mix flavors from various cultures to create balanced, harmonious bites. And this is coming from an Asian fusion hater!

Asian cornucopias of awesome ingredients. 
The only thing that I didn't really enjoy was the nigiri-style individual pieces. Because the components were so sparse (i.e. tofu, rice and sauce), these pieces were underwhelming when compared to the bold, striking maki rolls.

As a last recommendation, the shop’s homemade drinks are a wonderful side for your meal. We washed down our rolls with a silky orange blackberry coconut water. The orange pulp tickled my tongue as the coconut aftertaste glided in and out of my taste periphery.

A lovely shade of fuchsia. 

Beyond Sushi is proof that you can be vegan and sexy at the same time. Although the food is quite healthy, the textures and flavors delight the senses in a stimulatingly unique way. This airy little eatery is the perfect pit-stop prelude to a romp in the sun or a night on the town.

The tiny shop. 
Slide Show (Click the “i” for More Info on the Pictures):

Beyond Sushi 
229 East 14th Street
New York, NY 10003

Beyond Sushi: Mind-blowing VEGAN sushi - Is that your brain splattered against the concrete?

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Saturday, October 20, 2012

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