My whole life, I haven’t liked seafood. While I love salty food, there is something about the actual fishiness of seafood that just makes me gag. This dislike caused me to miss out on one of the cutest foods out there: sushi. I’ve always wanted to like sushi. It is visually appealing, and popping it into your mouth piece by piece always seemed fun. When I first moved to Hawaii, I even went through a phase where I secretly tried to eat sushi at home (stuff that my mom and sister brought home for their own take-out lunches or dinners) but that usually just ended up in me gagging or even throwing up. I just couldn’t do it; until I found Beyond Sushi.
A super small restaurant and take-out counter, the East Village location seats only about 18 at most. They have recently opened another location in Chelsea, which I haven’t yet visited. The brick walls are lined with large images of the sushi you can order, which I love. It’s a unique way to display the menu and whet the appetite of the diners, and it also proves that the colorful sushi is actually beautiful art.
My first time to Beyond Sushi, I began with a basil cucumber lemonade, which was as refreshing as it sounds. I could probably drink this every day, since it wasn’t too sweet.
Kiyo and I each ordered an 8-piece roll. You can order your sushi with the standard seaweed wrapper or with a soy wrapper, which is what I got. I like seaweed in small doses, but I find it too fishy and slimy in large quantities. Kiyo had the “Spicy Mang,” which is black rice with avocado, mango, cucumber and spicy veggies, served with toasted cayenne sauce.
My roll was the “Sweet Tree,” made with six grain rice, avocado, sweet potato and alfalfa sprouts, served with toasted cayenne sauce. This sushi was so delicious! I love avocado and sweet potato together; it sounds like it’d be too soft, but it’s not (another example of this odd pairing is the sandwich I had at Nectar last summer). The rice is nutty, the sauce is just slightly spicy and the alfalfa sprouts add just a hint of freshness. Maybe it’s partially due to the fact that I’ve always wanted to like sushi, but I was immediately obsessed with this roll.
Kiyo also ordered two special rolls (one snow pea and one carrot), which were cute and super tiny! I made him stick his finger into the picture to show the proportion.
The meal was so delicious that I ordered another roll to go and ate it at my desk for lunch the next day. This roll was the “Green Machine,” made with six grain rice, cucumber and asparagus and topped with basil-marinated veggies. It came with jalapeño wasabi sauce, bottled in a strange little tube that made for easy application. This roll wasn’t quite as good as my favorite Sweet Tree, but it was still super tasty and still delicious a day old.
I’ve since been back and love it each time; the food is very consistent. Every time I go to Union Square now, I crave Beyond Sushi! I would definitely recommend it for vegans, vegetarians and even carnivores.
Location: 229 E 14th St. New York, NY 10003 Phone: (646) 861-2889