Restaurant Review: Soy & Sake

Soy & Sake
47-49 7th Avenue South
(between Bleecker Street and Morton Street)
Greenwich Village, Manhattan
212-255-2848

Vegiboys Rating (2.5/4)

Soy & Sake is a recent reincarnation of the late Dragonfly, part of the Wong restaurant dynasty (along with Red Bamboo and Vegetarian’s Paradise 2). Using the same space and even some remnants of Dragonfly’s decor, Soy & Sake takes their food in a Japanese direction, with vegetarian sushi being a highlight to the menu, but also sticks to the Wong family’s formula of offering fake meat dishes in spades.

The interior was pretty, but a bit worn; it had the feel of having lost its place as a happening spot within the last few years. The long front dining room was nearly empty when we first arrived; a pair of tourists walked in but circled out just as quickly upon realizing it was a vegetarian restaurant.

Our table was nice, being next to the long front window, and raised from the street for a great view of 6th Avenue in the Village. However, while I don’t usually object to natural ventilation, the open front windows sent in a lot of distracting street noise (and even subway noise from the street grates).

We started with lemonade, which had more sugar than lemon. The menu (in true Wong form) was all over the place, offering every fake-meat known to New York City, so we went with buffalo wings as an appetizer, and on the suggestion of the waitress, ordered a platter of the salmon, tuna and avocado sushi rolls, and a mango chicken entrée.

The wings were indistinguishable from Red Bamboo’s. A crisp skin, a softer fibrous interior, and a sweet and spicy marinade: nicely done as always.

The avocado rolls had a welcome spice to them, and the presentation was quite beauitful; the cut rolls were set on top of a banana leaf with a thick creamy sauce drizzled throughout the dish. The salmon and tuna rolls were perhaps a bit too realistic: the consistency was like canned tuna, and the taste was pure Bumblebee, not nearly as refined as hoped.

The breaded faux-chicken entrée was topped with a mountain of shredded mango, with a small side of basic steamed vegetables (a Polynesian meal with an American side dish an afterthought). We finished off the sushi, but the chicken dish could barely be dented; we took it home for a full lunch the next day.

Our waitress regrettably disappeared for the latter half of the meal, engaged in back barroom activities more significant than a dessert order or a check. We eventually took matters into our own hands and acquired dessert lists from the hostess station, at which point our waitress promptly arrived to recommend the Peanut Butter Bomb.

The duly ordered Peanut Butter Bomb cake, despite the waitress’ recommendation, was pretty mundane (sort of like one of the less exciting boxed cakes from Pepperidge Farm after spending a few too many days uncovered in the fridge).

In all, the bill came to $30 each. We received a lot of food, including lunch for the next day, but the best parts of the meal were the same old standbys available at VP2 and Red Bamboo. Without anything outstanding to set Soy & Sake apart from its sister restaurants, it may only be worth a visit if you’re looking to experiment with some vegi-sushi creations without expecting much more.

Food (2.5/4)
Atmosphere & Service
(2.5/4)
Value (2/4)

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