Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Soy Cafe

630 North 2nd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19123-3040
(215) 922-1003

I had been living in the area for a long time and often passed by Soy Cafe, always without the slightest bit of interest. Many years later, a friend moved to the neighborhood and expressed such interest, sighting,"they have really great reviews on Yelp." So I did my own research and found that, yes, he was absolutely right - maybe it was time to give them a try. By now, a taste of Soy Cafe was in the cards.

Nearly deterred again because I absolutely can't stand their signage, I remembered that it's not (always) proper to judge a book by its cover. I mean, great food doesn't have to be represented through great design, right? (In a perfect world...)

The interior is actually quite nice and has most of the original architecture in-tact, refinished & painted in cool colors to create a relaxing environment, with a mish-mash of tables and chairs – I guess it would be considered "shabby chic." If that means anything at all.

There's also a crazy magazine collection. They must spend upwards of $500/year on subscriptions alone.

Well, finally, to the food. The menu offers an odd mix of American-Japanese items with an emphasis on fresh veggies and vegan ingredients, though they do offer a few carnivorous alternatives. I opted for a special item, the vegan cheesesteak wrap.

Talk about freshly delicious. Bursting with flavors of crispy fresh romaine and juicy ripe tomato, the wrap was a very unexpected translation of the Philly classic. Like, I don't even think it warrants being called a 'cheesesteak,' but in their defense, there was an abundance of fake meat (seitan) and fake (vegan) cheese to account for the bulk of the sandwich. Finished with some marinated red onions and honey mustard drizzle, this thing was absolutely delicious. Be warned, Soy Cafe, if any die-hard cheesesteak fans find out about this menu option's namesake, there might be trouble on the horizon.

We also ordered the turkey pesto sandwich, made with 98% fat free turkey, homemade sun-dried tomato pesto, black olives, tomatoes, soy cheese and spring mix on choice of bread - sun-dried tomato, in this case.

This was another winner, for certain. Using only the freshest ingredients with thick slabs of juicy turkey, this sandwich was a well balanced construction served on rather thin slices of bread that stood up to the challenge. I couldn't remember the last time I'd actually had properly ripe tomatoes like these on a sandwich, save for the ones I pick out of my own backyard.

And not to mention the Asian-style salad! That ginger-sesame dressing gets me every time. Fresh greens topped with paper thin spiral-shaved beets & carrots and a healthy dose of the Japanese topping, this would make for the perfect accompaniment to any meal.

Well done, Soy Cafe, well done!
-Posted by gabulous

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