where the soys are
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Where the Soys Are
May, 2013, Page 135
Photos by Ana Ramirez
Green New American Vegetarian
2240 N. Scottsdale Rd., Tempe
480-941-9003; 2022 N. Seventh St.,
When chef Damon Brasch opened his vegan/vegetarian concept in 2008, he made a statement with what he called “eco-friendly, low carbon, compassionate cuisine.” Heck yes, and might we add “straight-up delicious”? The trick is to treat good-for-you foods with the same respect as naughtier foods. His vegan “tsoft tserve” soy ice cream, for example, melts in the mouth with compelling richness. His savory dishes are equally satisfying. With the jerk tofu salad, you won’t miss the meat, thanks to the sturdy silkiness of the excellent house signature tofu tossed with fiery seasonings and doused with Jamaican Jungle dressing. Apricot miso is a
-caliber creation of pureed apricots, spicy sambal and rice wine vinegar with sautéed vegetables and fresh tofu over nutty brown rice. Meals can start with a tofu satay, speared and dipped in spicy Thai peanut sauce, then move on to coconut-madras curry tofu or an artisanal flatbread – a crispy-pillowy 10-inch round topped with homemade pesto, vegan mozzarella, and additions like crispy or fresh tofu, roasted eggplant and artichoke hearts.
Chuhgajib Korean BBQ
4920 W. Thunderbird Rd., Glendale
This authentic Asian destination’s current digs may be diminutive and plain-Jane, but the food is outsized and outstanding. So we were thrilled when we heard the family-owned and family-cheffed eatery will be expanding into a neighboring space this summer. With numerous choices in the tofu soup category alone, we’ll need to make room on our table – and in our bellies – for Chuhgajib’s myriad soy delicacies. The kitchen sends out each big, brimming bowlful of savory broth simmering in a stone crock or metal vessel on a little hibachi. Slurp your way though combinations such as assorted soft tofu (yes, there are different levels of softness) with beef, squid, shrimp and clam, or simple but succulent dry seaweed. One of our favorites is the dumpling and beef, since it’s such a velvety, juicy mix of textures, but kimchi and pork is a superb, fiery wake-up call to tired taste buds. Just pay careful attention to the optional heat levels, ranging from white (wimpy) to extra spicy (masochists rejoice). Some of the dishes may seem esoteric, but no worries, it’s all good, even the rustic – OK, a bit rubbery – marrow, gut and tripe soup bobbing with shimmering chunks of tofu.
9832 N. Seventh St., Phoenix
Tofu for breakfast? Why not? At this sparkly-sleek Sunnyslope haunt, breakfast is served all day, and one of the finest renditions is found in the tofu scrambles. You order at the counter and have your choice of fillings, such as sautéed mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes and spinach, or squash, zucchini, red onion and bell peppers. The egg-vegetable melange is hot, hearty, fluffy and fragrant with garden goodness, while the tofu is slippery and toothsome, soaking up all the ambient flavors in a happy hug. Scoop up every last bit with toast and crisp-edged sweet potato hash, or get it rolled in a burrito with the extra thrill of spicy soyrizo and avocado mixed in. Sadly, there’s no soy milk gravy, but we’ve been known to ask for homemade tomato sauce or chipotle hollandaise on the side for an extra rich, zesty kick. Sometimes, if we’re feeling particularly wild, we just say, “bring it,” and go for the real sausage gravy.
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