Enter the beauty of Soy & Sake. As a big fan of Red Bamboo and the now defunct Red Bamboo Brooklyn, I really didn't doubt that Soy & Sake, with the same owner, would deliver. Instead, it blew me away.
The menu is huge. There are plenty of options that can be found at Red Bamboo, a lengthy sushi menu, and a zillion other offerings ranging from Chinese and Japanese, to Thai, Indian, American, etc. It's hard to decide where to start, so we agreed to a few ground rules:
- forego anything we can order at Red Bamboo
- make selections that would generally be found in an Asian restaurant
- concentrate on the sushi for our entrees
The appetizers in and of themselves were a feast. The chicken tempura came with a generous amount of chicken and a nice assortment of veggies. Even my analog-hating vegetarian companion enjoyed the chicken along with her vegetables; it was that good. The tempura batter was non-greasy and pretty authentic. Ok, I cheated and ordered the Red Bamboo fried shrimp, but I hadn't had them in a while so I was glad to confirm that they were just as delicious as ever with either cocktail or tartar sauce. Again, the analog-hater herself enjoyed all of the crispy ends! Finally, the fried vegetable gyoza was a more than respectable entry into the city's gyoza wars (I made them up; it just seems that my companion is forever ordering dumplings!).
Onto the sushi! The first roll we tried was the simple, yet unique, peanut avocado roll. I love both, so it sounded win-win, but we were also aware that the combo could go terribly, horribly wrong. It so did not; it was exquisite! This is so easy, yet so delicious; why haven't I ever seen this anywhere before?
Soy and Sake does offer all kinds of tuna, salmon, scallop, crab, eel, etc. rolls, but we decided to stick with the veggie options on this, our inaugural visit. We could not have been more impressed with every choice. Each veggie role was a unique combination enhanced by perfect accoutrements.
Vegan Treats and fried ice cream (!) made with Kleins).
In conclusion, the food was entirely fresh and exquisite; the service was friendly, unobtrusive, and well-timed; the prices more than fair; and the restaurant beautiful (a far cry from the short-lived Dragonfly): light and welcoming. The fish tank is certainly an attractive centerpiece, but I'm at odds with a respectful vegetarian/vegan establishment choosing to use an aquarium as a decorative element. Here you are enjoying a cruelty-free meal whilst living beings spend their lives relegated to a relatively miniscule, man-made habitat solely for aesthetic purposes.
That aside, you will not be disappointed with anything you order at Soy & Sake. In fact, you will find it difficult to concentrate on your own tasty selections as equally delicious options go by your table, intended for other diners. Consider this display the coming attractions for what you might order on your next visit, which will surely be soon.