Our 10 Best Tofu Dishes in NYC

No. 7 Sub's General Tso's tofu.
No. 7 Sub's General Tso's tofu.
Rebecca Marx

The end product of coagulated, molded soy milk, tofu is one of America's most beleaguered foods, ridiculed for its wobbly texture and inherently bland flavor. And that's a shame, because the favorite whipping boy of the vegetarian/vegan world has a long and varied history that's all too easily negated by heavy sauces and inept handling. When it's prepared with a modicum of understanding and respect, tofu can be as versatile and satisfying as meat -- and often makes a happy companion to it. Here, we present our 10 favorite tofu dishes across the city. Obviously, yours may vary, so feel free to chime in in the comments.

Ten Ten's chilled tofu.
Ten Ten's chilled tofu.
Lauren Shockey

10. The tofu, basil, and tomato sandwich at François Payard Bakery: Payard transforms the bean curd into an inspired thread so tangy and rich it's easy to mistake it for something far less wholesome than tofu. It's served with diced, ripe tomatoes and spicy arugula. Though the basil is a bit scant, plenty of black olives add savory depth. (116 West Houston Street, 212-995-0888)

9. The grilled tofu sandwich at Black Shack Burger: Here, the tofu patty gets the standard burger treatment: Carpeted with mayo, mustard, and ketchup, it reclines upon a seeded bun with lettuce, pickles, and raw onions. The result: a burger that's every bit as good as its meaty counterparts. (320 Lexington Avenue, 212-213-0042)

8. The sweet tofu pudding at Kyotofu: Kyotofu excels at transforming soy products into dessert, a talent that its signature sweet tofu pudding exemplifies. Smooth, light, and ethereally creamy, it's adorned only with kuromitsu syrup and a black sesame tuile, the latter of which lends a nice contradictory crunch. (705 Ninth Avenue, 212-974-6011)

7. Shredded pork and dried bean curd with Chinese celery at Grand Sichuan St. Marks: Though it's sacrilege to vegetarians, tofu loves it some meat, and pork in particular. Here, the chewy curd adds textural dimension to the shredded pork, and provides a chilled-out counterbalance to the celery's assertive flavor. (23 St. Marks Place, 212-529-4800)

6. The tofu and broccolini at Dirt Candy: The secret to successfully executing a tofu dish at a vegetarian restaurant? Butter. Here, Amanda Cohen takes a crispy-cream slab of bean curd and douses it with orange buerre blanc. Paired with broccoli and broccolini, it's compulsively rich and satisfying as all get-out. (430 East 9th Street, 212-228-7732)

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