Chef Guy Vaknin, from Gordon Ramsey’s “Hell’s Kitchen,” has since retired his meat and fish knives to sling 100 percent vegan food at his restaurant, Beyond Sushi.
Those sick of traditional California and vegetable rolls can try Vaknin’s innovative, fishless sushi featuring fresh vegetables, fruits, and nutritious black rice or six-grain rice.
Maintaining high standards for freshness, all items are made-to-order and are quite labor intensive. We watched as Vaknin attentively trained his staff, cueing reminders that the carrot-ginger dressing paired with the crunchy pickled gobo, carrot, daikon and avocado roll.
Overseeing the careful construction of our Spicy Mang, Vaknin shaped black rice into a perfect rectangle and rolled it with rainbow rows of ripe avocado, mango, and crisp cucumber strips. A spicy cabbage, pepper, and carrot mixture was lovingly draped over the roll without mangling the shape.
A true pioneer, Vaknin thoughtfully packages his custom sauces for to-go customers in plastic tubes that look like they come straight out of a chem lab. The innovative packaging kept the creamy, tofu-based dressing separate during transportation and was easy to dispense—we didn’t even need soy sauce.
True to its name, if sushi isn’t your game, gluten-free rice paper wraps, rice bed salads and fresh juices are also available. We were surprised to find the seemingly simple wraps anything but ordinary. The delightfully chewy, sticky exterior was fun to eat and contained delicious Asian combinations like a flavorful, nutty soba salad with carrot batons, jalapeno peanut butter, crushed peanuts and sesame oil, balanced with cilantro and a sweet soy mirin glaze.
As we stared at our beautifully arranged to-go container, we almost felt bad eating these gorgeous works of art—until we discovered these beauties taste just as good as they look.
229 E. 14 St. (between 2nd & 3rd avenues)
Sun-Wed: 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m.
Thu-Sat: 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m.
The Green Roll
75 Ninth Ave. (at Chelsea Market)
Mon-Sat:10 a.m.–8 p.m.
Sun: 10 a.m.-7:30 p.m.
Best Practices/Nutrition: Ashley Spivak
Food Critic: Chelsea Grant
Clean Plates reviews are the only restaurant reviews that combine the expertise of a nutritional consultant and a food writer/critic. In addition to each restaurant being visited, Clean Plates employs a rigorous multistep assessment process including thorough research into ingredient sourcing; quality of cooking oils; preparation techniques; eco-friendly, sustainable practices; and ability to accommodate specific dietary needs.
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