The first Beyond Sushi restaurant opened in 2012 as an alternative for sushi-loving vegans. It was little more than a counter in a storefront, but it was in the bustling Union Station neighborhood in Manhattan with its crowds of professionals, students and street artists with a penchant for hip eateries and eventually a penchant for the fast-casual menu at Beyond Sushi. The sushi is, for the most part, made with grains, vegetables and fruit, imaginatively paired and distinctively flavored with ingredients such as tangy vinegar-tinged rice, sweet mayonnaise, nutty sesame seeds and sweet-and-sour teriyaki sauce. There are no fish or shellfish used in the preparation, but an informal survey determined that 60% of the customers are not vegans or vegetarians.
Beyond Sushi has understandably been celebrated in the press, including in The New York Times, New York Post and New York Daily News. The Village Voice chose it as one of “Manhattan’s Best Plant-Based Restaurants.”
Guy Vaknin is the chef and Tali is his wife and business partner. Guy brings his Israeli-Moroccan heritage to the menu, still influenced by the intense tastes and colors that he found as a child in his Moroccan grandmother’s kitchen. Tali brought the vegetarianism that she grew up with as well as years of experience in the food industry. Together they created a unique menu with healthy, appetizing and artistically presented dishes and one that has been certified by the International Kosher Council.
Guy moved to the U.S. from Israel with the intent of becoming a computer engineer, but it didn’t take long for him to be drawn to the family kosher catering business, where Tali also worked. Guy decided to go “all in” with food preparation and graduated from the Institute of Culinary Education in Manhattan. He then became an Executive Chef for the catering business and, not long after, a finalist on Hell’s Kitchen, the cooking reality show with the demanding (sometimes “hellish”) Gordon Ramsay. He didn’t win, but he and Tali were inspired to start their own restaurant serving vegan sushi. They began by giving out samples of their savory sushi at yoga studios and gyms and then participated in the New York City Vegetarian Food Festival. Encouraged by the tremendously positive response, they opened the first Beyond Sushi. Now six locations dot Manhattan, including a full-service restaurant in the garment district that offers a dinner menu as well as the core offerings.
In addition to sushi, the menu offers dumplings, rice paper wraps, salads and noodle soups, as well as sakes, craft cocktails and exotic desserts, such as caramelized kumquats.
Guy and Tali have as much fun naming their creations as they do continuing to up their sushi game, including:
Sunny Side made with black rice, braised fennel and sun-dried tomato,
Pickle Me with six-grain rice, pickled daikon and avocado, and
Nutty Buddy Wrap with soba noodles, spicy peanut butter and vegetables.
With the Beyond Sushi Mobile App, Guy and Tali have made it even easier for you. Use your phone to check out the menu, place pick-up or delivery orders or pre-orders, pay, and track the rewards you earn. Store your favorite meals for speed ordering, save multiple addresses and get directions to store locations.
For additional convenience, you can place catering orders on their website. Beyond Sushi caters casual events with party platters made up of your selections from an astounding assortment of sushi, light bites, salads and desserts—all healthy, vegan and non-allergenic. For a larger, more formal affair, a sushi station is more appropriate, filled with an impressive, colorful and tantalizing array of vegan delights. And there will be no embarrassing empty spots. The servers keep the station replenished until the festivities have ended.