FauxMeatup.com NYC: The best restaurants to eat fake meat in NYC
Let’s guess how it happened: You read Michael Pollen’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma or Jonathan Safran Foer’s Eating Animals and decided to become a vegetarian. Or perhaps this didn’t happen to you, but your significant other read the aforementioned literature, and now you’re inevitably along for the ride. Regardless of how it happened, very likely you still have a longing for meat in your life that’s been unfulfilled as of late. The world of faux-meat can be tricky to navigate with all of the Quorn and Tofurkey out there, so here’s the official Seamless guide to the Best Faux-Meats in New York:
- Buddha Bodai – This spot in Chinatown has mastered the faux-meat. In fact, it’s earned a PhD in Faux-Meat from Harvard. All of the fake meats on the menu are overflowing with flavors that the previously named processed good manufacturers should start copying. Start with the vegetarian shark fin soup that won’t damage any endangered species. Move on to the BBQ’d vegetarian meat and Five Color Assorted Appetizer that includes stuffed bread, beef, chicken, and duck.Remember, this spot is also certified Kosher, so surprise your Jewish friends with a trip here as they’re staring at pig’s feet during your Chinatown tour.
- Soy and Sake – Everyone agrees: Soy and Sake does vegetarian meats in a most phenomenal way. Combining Chinese food with sushi, this is a can’t-lose destination. Start with the Veggie Roast Duck that is bean curd wrapped with seaweed served cold with sweet chili dipping sauce and the Bourbon Chicken Appetizer that consists of marinated soy chicken grilled to perfection over mixed greens. Craving a burger? Answer: The Manhattan Burger with soy beef marinated and grilled, topped with sautéed mushrooms, caramelized onions, lettuce, tomatoes, vegan mayo, mustard with your choice of cheese and a side of fries. And this amazingly diverse spot creates faux-fish to perfection: That means Sushi! From faux-tuna avocado rolls to faux-eel cucumber rolls, this is the rare locale that has epitomized what faux-fish sushi should be! And stuff your gullet evermore with special rolls like the Black Dragon Roll with soy crab, avocado, topped with eel. Can you say Sushi! Sushi! Sushi!
- ‘sNice – With locations in Park Slope and lower Manhattan, ‘Snice offers the finest deli meats without having meat at all. From Philly Cheesesteaks made with seitan to tempeh Reubens, and meatless Buffalo chicken wraps to un-meatball heros, ‘Snice is super nice casual dining made ridiculously easy for non-meat eaters. (And meat eaters won’t even be able to tell the difference!).
- Wild Ginger – This pan-Asian vegan restaurant has locations in Manhattan and in Brooklyn. All are superb. The menu features more than two-dozen home-made sauces set atop traditional Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese, and South Asian dishes. For a main dish, try the mango soy protein that consists of thin-sliced medallions sauteed in a mellow plum sauce, with mango, zucchini, asparagus, sweet saga-turnips, peppers, and onions, served with rice and a choice of soup or salad for just $13. Also try the soy cutlet platter with thick, breaded soy cutlets, sauteed in a tangy black bean sauce with broccoli, onions, bamboo shoots and stewed tomatoes.
- Red Bamboo – In a hood crowded with the aforementioned veggie-lover specialties, Red Bamboo sticks out from the crowd by offering vegan soul food in addition to the Asian standards that fill this genre. Try the Creole soul chicken that consists of panko breaded soy chicken with Cajun and rosemary seasoning, served with sweet corn mashed potatoes, steamed carrots, yellow squash, zucchini, and the house specialty classic mushroom gravy. Wanting seafood? The codfish cakes with mango salsa are seasoned soy fish cakes stuffed with red and green peppers, oregano, and cilantro, fried in a crispy onion batter, topped with fresh mango salsa and served with a side of mixed greens. And finally, for classic Caribbean flavor, the “oxtail stew” is a savory spiced stew with snow peas, carrots, celery and a special soy protein with a sugar cane center, served with white or brown rice.
- Foodswings – It seems that these days we reserve at least one place on every top whatever list for hipster-oriented fare. And this list is no different. This Williamsburg haunt features diverse deli favorites of meatless wonder like the Chick’N Cordon Bleu, breaded and fried mock cutlet with soy ham & daiya mozzarella cheese with romaine lettuce, tomato, onion and homemade dijonnaise on a roll. Greek vegan fare is hard to find, but Foodswings’ faux-gyro is made of seasoned homemade seitan with romaine lettuce, tomato, red onion & vegan tzatziki sauce wrapped in flatbread. Finally, Foodswings’ Famous Drumsticks are a must-try, which come in many flavors. Our favorite: The Combo Plate of three drumsticks with choice of side salad, mac n cheese, fries, or mashed potatoes for just $11.25, a steal!
- Papacito’s – While not purely vegetarian, this Greenpoint locale is sure to help couples that have one meat-eating partner reconcile after disputes with their more “ethical” other-halves. Serving both meat and faux-meat Mexican fare, Papcito’s knows Soyrizo and Spicy Tempeh well. Get your tacos, burritos, quesadillas, nachos, and much more topped with whatever faux-meats please you. This spot also serves up brilliant shoestring fries, homemade guac, and a lovely queso dip. (Seamless this one for reconciliation at home!)
- Vegetarian Palate – This Prospect Heights gem will hit you over the head like a soy chicken nugget, specifically one breaded with panko breadcrumbs, rosemary, basil and oregano, and served with hickory smoked mustard sauce. Yes, vegetarian chicken is the specialty here, and it comes in many varieties. Some of our favorites include the Texas Fried Chicken consisting of deep fried soy chicken with taters, with a hickory smoked BBQ sauce on the side. Also of note is the Hawaiian Chicken that is lightly battered fried vegetarian chicken served on a bed of onions and peppers, served with a pineapple and lychee sweet & sour sauce.
Are we leaving anything out? Share your faux-meat faves in the comments below!