Every week, I document another dish that impressed and satiated me during my food adventures around New York City
I’ve had all sorts of fake meat over the years. Broccoli hot dogs. Veggie burgers made from just about anything you can imagine (except meat. of course). And most recently I tried a yuba philly cheesesteak that blew my mind.
But through it all, I’ve never tasted anything that pretended to be fish. Unless you count those imitation crab sticks. So I was intrigued and a bit skeptical when I discovered that Orchard Grocer, the new trendy vegan bodega was serving lox made out of carrots.
It’s pretty ballsy to hawk a bagel with vegan cream cheese and carrot lox in the Lower East Side. Despite the changing demographics of the neighborhood, the breakfast sandwich is still associated with the historic Jewish immigrants that once lived here.
But I tell you, the masterminds behind this vegan deli would have made bubbe and zayde proud.
The familiar combination works beautifully even when no seafood is involved. A soft chewy bagel is the vessel for cream cheese made out of cashew and smoked salmon made out of carrots.
Those carrots are shaved to a thinness resembling lox and then cured and smoked. I was truly flabbergasted by how much the root vegetable really felt and tasted like the real thing – smoky, salty with a nice silk texture. It had a bit more bright sweetness than I’m used to, but I didn’t find that to be a bad thing. The addition of already vegan capers and scallions helped convince my brain I was eating an authentic Sunday morning sandwich.
I know vegan can be a bad word in food circles, especially ones that worship pulled pork and burgers. But chefs are finally doing incredible things with vegetables. In a way, I wish I was vegan so I could truly celebrate this breakthrough. Now we only need someone to figure out how to make a satisfying vegan lobster roll. Price: $8
|78 Orchard Street (between Broome and Grand Street)
Lower East Side