Beyond Sushi NYC And My Interview With One Of The World’s Greatest Sushi Lovers

Beyond Sushi NYC

Beyond Sushi NYC

Beyond Sushi, located at 229 E. 14th Street (between 2nd & 3rd Aves) in New York City, is a dream for anyone pursuing a plant-based lifestyle who misses traditional sushi containing seafood. Last night, my husband Jeff and I finally made the trek into New York City from Long Island to see what all the fuss has been over Chef Guy Vaknin’s plant-powered sushi. You may recall Chef Guy from Fox Network’s Hell’s Kitchen in which he was a finalist.

We were very lucky to snag a table at this small vegan sushi eatery which seems to cater largely to a take-out crowd. There are about 3 or 4 tables in the space which I’m sure must get really crowded during peak times. However, it was a lovely space and the waitstaff and sushi chefs were kind and eager to please.

Beyond Sushi NYC

Beyond Sushi NYC

Fabulous photos of the vegan sushi rolls offered on the menu were displayed across the exposed brick walls.

IMG_1451After drooling over the rolls ordered by the women sitting next to us at our coffee shop-style table, Jeff and I decided to split a seaweed salad, a bowl of miso soup (I couldn’t get a good photo), a Nutty Buddy Wrap (buckwheat noodles, crushed cashews, cilantro, jalapeño peanut butter, avocado, sesame oil, carrots, baked tofu and romaine lettuce, served with sweet mirin sauce), a Spicy Mango Roll (black rice, avocado, mango, cucumber and spicy veggies, served with toasted cayenne sauce), a Sweet Tree Roll (six grain rice, avocado, sweet potato and alfalfa sprouts, served with toasted cayenne sauce), and a Mighty Mushroom Roll (six grain rice, enoki, shiitake, tofu and micro arugula, served with shiitake teriyaki sauce).

The food looked gorgeous and I loved everything! My favorite roll was the Spicy Mango Roll, and Jeff’s was the Sweet Tree Roll. The prices were reasonable, and I left the premises feeling happy and satisfied. Jeff and I both wished that this was a more formal restaurant with a larger space and more tables, but the sushi was fabulous. I would go to Beyond Sushi every day if it was located in my neighborhood. I could go “on and on” about how great the food was (and it was!), but these photos speak thousands of words. Feast your eyes on this…


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IMG_1477The greatest sushi lover I know in the entire world is my husband, Jeff. He lives for his family, his work, golf and sushi, and not necessarily in that order. So I thought “who better to interview about Beyond Sushi than Jeff?” I hope you enjoy my interview with my hubby.

Debby & Jeff Sunshine Circa 2006

Debby & Jeff Sunshine Circa 2006


Me: Describe your first experience eating traditional sushi, and by “traditional sushi” I mean sushi containing seafood.

Jeff: My ex-sister-in-law was from LA. She took me for the first time in 1981. The first time I did not like it. I kept dropping my dinner in the soy sauce bowl splattering everyone because I did not use my chopsticks very well. By the second or third time, I was hooked on it (ha ha).

Me: You still splatter which is why I nicknamed you “the splatterer.” Hooked on it…not so funny. Anyway, since that time, how often would you say you eat sushi?

Jeff: At least twice per week and, often, more than that.

Me: On a scale of 1-10, discuss where traditional sushi fits in as one of your favorite foods.

Jeff: It is my favorite meal…a 10!

Me: Do you personally know anyone who loves traditional sushi more than you do?

Jeff: They would be living in Japan.

Me: Can’t stop laughing. You have largely changed your diet towards becoming vegan since I went vegan several years ago. Traditional sushi is one of the foods you still eat, along with other fish every now and then. Is your love for traditional sushi one of the reasons why you have not completely committed to a vegan diet?

Jeff: Definitely, and probably the reason I will never fully convert.

Me: What percentage of your diet would you say is vegan?

Jeff: If there are about 20 meals in a week and 17 or 18 of them are vegan, that puts me at 90%

Me: For the record, Jeff, at your last routine physical examination about 3 months ago, what was your total cholesterol level?

Jeff: Less than 150 with extremely good LDL/HDL ratios.

Me: You are not being totally transparent, honey. Your total cholesterol level was 143. I guess you don’t want to brag. Anyway, I would like to discuss your experience last night at Beyond Sushi in New York City’s East Village since you love sushi more than anyone else I know. Ok?

Jeff: OK

Me: What was your opinion concerning the presentation of our Beyond Sushi platter which included the Sweet Tree Roll, the Mighty Mushroom Roll, the Spicy Mango Roll and the Nutty Buddy Wrap?

Jeff: Presentation is not something I usually notice. I have been to many fine Japanese restaurants and I know the sushi chefs strive for perfection and I am always thinking how they are wasting their time on me…spend less time presenting the food and let’s go, I am probably late for my next meeting! I guess their presentation was fine.

Me: You are such a scrooge! What’s wrong with you? Presentation means so much with sushi. Anyway, let’s continue…Was the Beyond Sushi platter as pretty, less pretty, or prettier than the traditional sushi which you regularly eat?

Jeff: I can’t answer that…see my last answer.

Me: You are so in the doghouse with some of these answers, Jeff. To continue…Was the taste of the sushi at Beyond Sushi what you expected, less than what you expected, or more than what you expected?

Jeff: It was much better than I expected.

Me: Did you like the black rice and six-grain rice which was used in Beyond Sushi’s rolls?

Jeff: Yes, but I typically prefer white rice with sushi.

Me: Once again, wrong answer. Moving on…Did you feel as satisfied after eating at Beyond Sushi as you would after eating a traditional sushi meal?

Jeff: Yes, satisfied and full after sharing 3 rolls and the wrap with you. Also, the cost of the meal was very reasonable!

Me: Your answers are getting better, Jeff. Are the vegetable rolls which you have had at traditional sushi restaurants as good as Beyond Sushi’s rolls, not as good, or better?

Jeff: Beyond Sushi’s veggie rolls were the best I’ve ever had!

Me: You are not totally hopeless, honey! You indicated to me last night that you wished Beyond Sushi was a larger place with more tables; is that correct?

Jeff: Yes. Since it is a small place you have to share a table. It could have been that the woman next to us was yammering non-stop the whole time. Just for the record…in case the woman next to us happens to figure out who I am, here is a little advice “The guy is definitely NOT into you so do not visit him in Scotland!”

Me: You can be so mean, but LOL!!!! If Beyond Sushi expanded into more of a restaurant, as opposed to more of a take-out style place, how often do you think you would want to travel into NYC from Long Island to eat there?

Jeff: I will go often anyway…just won’t sit with the woman stalking the guy in Scotland.

Me: If Beyond Sushi had a take-out style restaurant near our home on Long Island, how often would you want to take home dinner from there?

Jeff: I would become a regular which, in my world, I would be on a first name basis with everyone in the place.

Me: If Beyond Sushi had a restaurant near our home on Long Island, how often do you think you would dine there?

Jeff: Same thing.

Me: If Beyond Sushi had a restaurant near our home on Long Island, do you think you would go there instead of to traditional sushi places?

Jeff: It would definitely reduce my visits to traditional sushi bars, but not eliminate them entirely.

Me: Based on the food alone, was your sushi experience at Beyond Sushi as good as, not as good as, or better than your experiences at traditional sushi restaurants?

Jeff: It was really good, but there are some things that are hard to replicate with sushi. I don’t feel that way with the meat substitutes that we eat, but I never really loved meat anyway.

Me: What is your favorite traditional sushi restaurant; and, by that, I mean sushi containing seafood?

Jeff: Teru Sushi in Studio City, California. Whenever I am out there, it is one of my first stops. In NYC there are too many to mention, but it is definitely not Nobu (but I bet everyone likes the presentation!). I have been going to Kisso in Lake Success, NY for 30 years which has been consistently good.

Me: Yes, Kisso. I wish they would let those gigantic fish out of that tiny fish tank there, and put them back into the ocean where they belong. Getting back on track…On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate the sushi from Teru Sushi?

Jeff: Teru Sushi is an 11.

Me: On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate your enjoyment of the sushi from Beyond Sushi as compared to Teru Sushi?

Jeff: For me, Beyond Sushi is a 7 compared to Teru Sushi.

Me: As an avid lover of traditional sushi, would you consider giving it up for good if there existed other vegan sushi restaurants (as good as Beyond Sushi’s) which are accessible wherever you may be?

Jeff: I think if they can start to ape real sushi a little better (hot and spicy tuna rolls, etc.) I would make the switch. There is a real risk in eating sushi beyond plant-based ideology…parasites and bacteria which is one of the reasons you should not buy sushi from a supermarket or buffet style restaurant.

Me: You are aware of what the consequences will be if you don’t answer these questions the way I want you to, aren’t you?

Jeff: I have been reminded of my early mistakes for the last 22 years…not looking to give you more complaints!

Me: On a scale of 1 to 10, how much did I have to bug you to answer these questions?

Jeff: No more than usual.

Me: On a scale of 1 to 10, how truthful were your answers?

Jeff: A 10…Love you babe, but you can do the rest.

Thank you, Jeff, for granting me this interview despite the fact that I would have made your life living hell if you refused. Some of your answers were not as enthusiastic as I would have hoped, and you will pay accordingly. But I do appreciate the honesty.

Now, here’s my opinion of Beyond Sushi. In the words of the Thug Kitchen guy, Beyond Sushi is f***in’ awesome, and if Chef Guy Vaknin were here right now, I would plant a big fat juicy kiss on his face!









  1. You always get the last word!!

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