Beyond Sushi — the popular meat-free sushi restaurant which first opened in 2012 in Union Square as a grab-and-go storefront — is in serious expansion mode. Husband-wife ownership team chef Guy Vaknin and Tali Vaknin are getting ready to unveil their 7th location as a full-service restaurant on the UES, complete with cocktails. Within the next two years, additional locations will be coming to Williamsburg and the Upper West Side.
The first in the crew will open next month at 1429 Third Avenue, at East 81st Street, in a space that previously housed a branch of Mexicue.
Beyond Sushi is largely known as a fast-casual restaurant that supplies vegan dishes shaped like sushi, plus meat-free versions of dishes like dumplings or skewers that pull from all sorts of international cuisines. Though a location in Midtown offers beer and wine, this newest location is part of a bid to “have a more sophisticated restaurant with an extended menu,” Guy Vaknin says.
The new 50-seat restaurant will add brunch, along with new menu items and cocktails. Expect dishes like a cherry wood-smoked pastrami seitan kebabs with a cracked pepper crust, or a meat-free burger topped with red wine-caramelized onions, pickled green tomatoes, and feta. Among the libations are a “Bloody Kale’’ and a lavender-lychee collins.
“I want the ability to get more creative,” the chef says. “We’ll have a better equipped kitchen with a smoker and an open-flame grill.”
The timing works for the Upper East Side, where popular vegan restaurant Candle 79 closed at the end of the year after 16 years in the neighborhood. “I knew there would be a void,” Vaknin says.
The new, bigger Beyond Sushi opens next month, and the couple intends to roll out the new broader model as they expand. Stay tuned for more.