I'm no vegan—I like my scones made with butter and my lattes with milk, thank you very much. I'm usually wary of places that peddle primarily vegetarian food, and those with punny names. But much to my surprise, the Soy Luck Club in the West Village has plenty worth eating—both vegan, and not vegan. It’s a place of peaceful culinary coexistence.
Their long list of coffee and tea lattes (including my current favorite, the maté latte) can be made with either soy or regular milk. Their long list of breakfast offerings strays from veggie territory, too, bagels and wraps with eggs and even smoked salmon and turkey.
And some vegan-nonvegan hybrids are pretty decent. The vegetarian croque monsieur, though a bastardization that would make any Frenchman cry, does the nearly impossible: It makes fake meat worth eating. Thinly sliced soy ham arrives on a nutty, thick-cut grain bread, and it's blanketed in a river of melting, milky Swiss cheese that, like the muumuus worn by the girls behind the counter, could mask almost any flaw.
With buttery toasted bread and that much tasty Swiss, one can nearly imagine that it’s real, piggy ham contained within. Did some part of me still long for real ham? Sure—but for reformed meat-eaters, or the omnivores with vegan friends, it’s as close to the croque as you’re going to get.
Soy Luck Club
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