Wednesday, October 24, 2007


We got some dinner at Dojo at 14 W 4th St in Manhattan. Dojo is not strictly vegetarian but has several vegetarian and vegan options which, we’re told, they offered way back before NYC was the vegan paradise that it is today.

Miso Soup
Until recently I was convinced that I only like Miso Soup if the ingredients are limited to little bits of tofu, scallion and wakame. But I recently had a realization and a change of heart. The reason I prefer it with minimalist ingredients is because the broth is my favorite part and sometimes, when other ingredients are added, they overpower the broth. I’m happy to announce that this isn’t the case at Dojo. Their Miso Soup does have some extra veggie ingredients in it, but the salty, delicious broth still shines. This was the first time I ever tried the Miso Soup at Dojo and I liked it enough that I look forward to ordering it again. -Jim

Hijiki Tofu Dinner with Brown Rice
Whenever we go to Dojo I get the same thing- the Hijiki Tofu Dinner with brown rice (you can choose from fries, homefries, or rice), salad, and an extra side order of Ginger Tahini Dressing. I love this dish. It is hearty, cheap, and filling. The Hijiki Tofu patty is thick and substantial. The Asian barbeque sauce that tops it is thin, and both sweet and savory. None of the elements are overpowering, including the Hijiki. I like the texture of the patty as well; it has a thick outer crust and a crumbly but firm inside. I usually pour the entire contents of the side of dressing on top of the patty and rice, but I make sure to leave plenty of uncovered spaces too. The dressing is simply smooth, tangy and delicious. I wuv it. The rice and salad are both standard fare, but everything combines for a great meal. If you opt for the homefries instead of rice, those too are good. I don't recall ever getting the fries, but I'm sure they're good too. -Ev

Soy Burger Dinner with French Fries
Most of what Ev said about the Hijiki Tofu Dinner applies to the Soy Burger Dinner too, as they are basically the same thing except that with the Soy Burger Dinner you get (surprise surprise) a Soy Burger instead of Hijiki Tofu. There’s really nothing burger-ish about the Soy Burger. It’s just a breaded-and-fried ball of textured soy. It’s kinda mushy but just firm enough not to bother me (I’m not a big fan of mushy soy products). The burger comes pre-doused in the delicious Ginger Tahini Dressing, but I still get an extra order of the dressing on the side just like Ev, because you really can’t have enough. I also like to get avocado in the side, which I chop up and add to the salad. Oh, and I prefer the fries to the brown rice. Not the healthier choice but the yummier one in my opinion. -Jim

The Bottom Line
Dojo is one of those cheap vegetarian staples. I would advise against going there late at night and stuffing your gut, as this could lead to bellyaches, but for a quick, inexpensive meal you really can't go wrong. -Ev
Dojo is so cheap and very tasty. I like how the Soy Burger and Hijiki Dinners are 3 part meals (crisp salad, starchy fries/rice, and soy protein) all on one plate and unified by that wonderful dressing. Did we mention you should always order extra dressing? Because you should. By the way, I’m pretty sure there are other vegan-friendly options at Dojo, but you might never hear about them here because we’re so hooked on the dishes above. -Jim

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Pizza Plus

We tried Pizza Plus at 359 7th Ave in Park Slope, Brooklyn. It’s an old school pizza parlor that recently started offering soy cheese and fake meat options.

Sun-dried Tomato and Pineapple Pizza
Yum! I sustained my first roof of the mouth cheese burn in 12 years eating this delicious concoction, but it was well worth it. pineapple and sun-dried tomatoes are both strong flavors, but they’re on opposite sides of the spectrum and their delicious battle is fought on your taste buds. I also tried a bite of my friend’s Sausage and Pineapple pizza- more timid of a combination, but still delicious. -Ev

Sausage, Pepper and Onion Pizza
The fake meat du jour at Pizza Plus was sausage, so we decided to go all out with a Sausage, Peppers and Onions Pizza. Everybody knows that sausage, peppers and onions go great together, and combining them atop a vegan pizza is no exception to that rule. The variety in texture was nice on this pie. And I think the sharpness of the toppings overpowered the flavor of the Follow Your Heart soy cheese a little bit, which is good, because I like the flavor of Follow Your Heart, but I don’t love it. -Jim

Broccoli Rabe and Caper Pizza
So this one was Isa’s famous combo. It’s weird because I liked it, but it was so strong I could only eat half a slice. The capers were good n’ salty and the broccoli rabe was a nice change from the other textures but it seemed the soy cheese flavor was amplified in this combo and was very heavy. It could be that this was my 3rd slice of pizza and the soyness was getting to me. Or it could be I wanted another slice of the Pineapple Pizza. Who knows? I will say this- it’s a few days later and this is the one I’m craving. Sneaky pizza. -Ev

The Bottom Line
We were dying to try Pizza Plus because we heard really good things about them. We heard that they perfected the art of a vegan cheese pizza, that they melted the cheese just right so that it wasn’t solid but it wasn’t just oily goo (any vegan who’s ever tried to make a pizza with vegan cheese knows what I’m talking about here). Well, I definitely enjoyed my pizza. The crust was good, the toppings were great and super-fresh, the place was pleasant and conveniently located and the staff was really nice. Did the cheese live up to the hype? Not really. It was a little gooey. But no big deal. It was still good and I would definitely eat here again. -Jim
I also enjoyed eating here. The staff was really nice. I think the large pies are the way to go as they are more pizza-y than the smaller ones. The smaller ones are delicious, but a liiiiittle bit thicker dough, where as the large pie had a thinner bottom and puffier crust. Also, I agree about the cheese. Our friends' table next to us got the melted perfection we had heard about. Our table got cheese that was soupier/stringier, although once it cooled off more it congealed into a better texture. All in all, it was great to stuff my face with pizza and I look forward to going back! -Ev

Monday, October 01, 2007

Kate’s Brooklyn Joint

We finally got a chance to check out Kate’s Brooklyn Joint located at 295 Berry St between 2nd and 3rd in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Kate’s Brooklyn Joint, much like it’s Manhattan ancestor, is all vegetarian and mostly vegan.

Sesame Unchicken Wings
When I go to Kate’s joint in Manhattan, I often get the Buffalo Unchicken Wings, which are basically huge slabs of tofu, fried with a crispy breading, slathered with spicy tangy buffalo sauce and served with creamy dipping sauce. I like ‘em. The Sesame Unchicken Wings we got at Kate’s Brooklyn Joint followed the same formula (dippable slabs of tofu), except that the breading was different, there was no sauce on the tofu, and the dipping sauce was different. As much as it pains me to say anything negative about Kate’s Joint, I didn’t like these so much. While the tofu was very crispy, it wasn’t very flavorful, and while the sweet and savory dipping sauce was good, it didn’t quite make up for the blandness of the tofu. Sorry, Kate’s Joint, I’m just not into this one. -Jim

Country Hearth Salad
Having always gotten the Country Salad at Kate’s Manhizzle, I ventured to new territory to celebrate Kate’s new territory and ordered the Country Hearth Salad. Holy Yum. This salad rocked because it was a delicious combination of warm and cool. Cool crunchy lettuce, warm mushrooms and roasted potatoes, artichoke hearts, some thing tofu-y thingies and maple dressing. What is not to love? Throw in an order of their Unturkey Soup and you’ve got a comfy fall meal. -Ev

Southern Fried Tofu Cutlet Sandwich
This sandwich is one of my Kate’s Joint staples at the Manhattan location, and I’m happy to announce it was just as good at their BK location. At the heart of this sandwich was a tofu cutlet. The tofu itself didn’t have too much flavor, but the breading had great flavor and texture. That cutlet, along with lettuce, tomato and tasty vegan mayo, was put on Kate’s famous focaccia bread, which I really can’t get enough of. It was a darn good sandwich. But even better than the sandwich was the mashed potatoes and gravy, which were just perfect. Here’s a trick I like to do sometimes: get an extra side of gravy, that way you can dip the sandwich in it (yum) and make sure you have plenty of extra gravy for the mashed potatoes (also yum). I’m pretty sure you can get your choice of bread, though I can’t imagine why you’d get anything but the focaccia bread, and your choice of mashed potato vs fries, but you should get the mashed potatoes. I guess what I’m saying is that you should eat this exactly like I eat it, and, more generally, you should like the same things that I like. -Jim

The Bottom Line
So the results are in: whichever borough you venture to for grub, Kate’s Joint will bring you tasty food and swell décor. And now I have a new favorite dish to order. The only factor that remains unsolved in this Manhattan vs Brooklyn battle is the how the hotness of the BK waiters compares to the near solar temperature of Kate’s Joint NYC. We had a waitress. Pretty, but she wasn’t no Jake. Sigh. -Ev
I can’t believe this is the third time we reviewed a Kate’s Joint and we have yet to review their desserts! Kate’s Joint has really good desserts, just trust me. Some day we’ll review them. Anyway, the food at Kate’s BK Joint was pretty much identical to the food at the Manhattan Kate’s Joint, which means it was pretty darn good. It’s nice to have yet another vegan option to choose from when visiting Williamsburg. -Jim