Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Beyond Sushi: Style AND Substance

I'd been jealous of all my friends who had made it to the grand opening of Beyond Sushi, the new vegetarian (vegan-friendly) sushi joint located on 14th Street between 2nd and 3rd, so I was thrilled when the opportunity presented itself to grab a bite there this past weekend during a fun-filled day.

The dining area wasn't as small as I'd anticipated (4 tables seating a total of 16), and the extremely kept minimalist space gave a meticulously clean impression.

After conflicting reports on the transparency of their vegan vs. vegetarian options, I was happy to see this sign displayed on the counter.

photo credit: JD Gut
And even happier when the staff explained that the two rolls- green machine and spicy mango, that were not currently vegan, would be so in the coming week.  In fact, if I understood correctly (and their recent Facebook status seems to indicate that I did), their intentions are to become an all-vegan establishment in the same time.  With any luck, this improvement was prompted by popular demand!

the restaurant isn't cockeyed; my photog skills are
Onto the food.  There are beautiful glossy menus available for perusing,

but the rolls are also displayed to monster scale on the walls.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but were these the beautiful sushi rolls that- under the moniker "Vegetarian Star", had sold out from the 2011 NY Veggie Food Festival?

We each started off with a watermelon lemonade with mint: refreshing and delicious; this is the type of drink I can already anticipate myself craving when walking around Manhattan nowhere near Beyond Sushi.

My friend and I agreed on two rolls (8 substantial pieces each) with the intention of sharing.  First up, the pickle me: six grain rice, gobo, carrot, pickled daikon, and avocado with carrot ginger sauce.

Artfully prepared and presented, this roll immediately exceeded my expectations of freshness and flavor.  The crunch of the daikon paired with the sweetness of the carrot and avocado was terrific; all of the flavors were carefully considered in the development of this combination roll.

Next up, the la fiesta: black rice, avocado, pickled jalapeño, chayote, and cilantro leaf with mango chili sauce.

Completely different from the previous roll, but equally decadent; the spice of the pickled jalapeño really pushed this one over the edge for me: divine!

If the the outstanding merit of these two rolls are any indication, I'm sure each and every option is just as spectacular.  Worry not; I'll be happy to try that out for you and report back.  But the two that we chose managed to be at the same time opposite and complimentary.  In other words: expert ordering!  We did both use soy sauce, but for me it was more out of habit than necessity; I think the high-quality and considerable substance of these beautiful roles would definitely stand alone.

I'm a little not at all embarrassed to tell you that we then decided to order a bit more.  We weren't the only table to do this!  Since I was dining with a mushroom-eschewer, we agreed on the sweet angel rice paper wrap: angel hair whole-wheat noodles, green asparagus, baked sweet potato, kimchi, alfalfa sprouts, romaine, and chili with toasted cayenne sauce.  It wasn't spicy as I'd expected, but it sure was fantastic nonetheless; each bite had another combination of these fine ingredients.

photo credit: JD Gut
We also tried one of the individual pieces free (current promotion if you like them on Facebook), the baked tofu with chili mango sauce.  Don't be fooled by the cartoonish image of this piece pictured on the menu as a rectangle of plain tofu.

In fact, it boasted two slices of a delicious pressed and marinated tofu topped with a nice, rich brown sauce in addition to the chili mango.

This beautiful piece was wholly representative of our dining experience.  Rest assured: there is a whole lot of substance beyond all of this impeccably styled made-to-order sushi.

While we were there, the mastermind owner and innovator of this extraordinary "flipper-less" sushi even came up from downstairs and smiled warmly at the diners.  This seemingly small gesture coupled with fantastically innovative food, a pleasant staff, and an impeccably clean dining room created an all-around top-notch, terrific dining experience; I can not more highly recommend Beyond Sushi.  As a longtime fan of combination vegetable sushi rolls, I can tell you that their offerings vastly exceeded my considerable expectations.  Healthy and delicious: don't let this casual establishment fool you; it's now some of the best grub in the city.  I know you'll visit, but if you wait a few days for them to be completely vegan, please do thank them!


  1. oh my gosh that place looks incredible! i'm going to have to check it out!!!

  2. I'm often envious of the vegan restaurants you visit, but now you flaunt sushi in my face? I love sushi, but usually have to settle for the ubiquitous avocado or cucumber variety, since that's often the only vegan choice. I was recently offended to learn that a vegan-sounding veggie sushi at a restaurant I was visiting was made with fish extract. Sigh. Enjoy some sushi for me, and I mean that sincerely.

  3. wowwww that looks TEMPTING !!!
    Nice photos really. And it must be a gr8 place.

  4. Andrea- I know the feeling exactly; most traditional sushi restaurants think nothing of sprinkling some bonito flakes into the veggie sushi "for flavor". I promise to enjoy some sushi for you without being at all flaunty about it ;-)

  5. This is amazing! Finally a place that embraces the gazillion vegan sushi options that we've all imagined. I also always think seitan, tofu and tempeh should be used more in sushi and I bet they optimize it at Beyond Sushi!

    Did you go to the NYC location? I wish there were a Philly one!!



Have you got something to say? It would be so nice to hear from you!
(I know captchas suck, but not as much as spam.)