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Even in the era of by CHLOE. and can’t-believe-it’s-not-meat burgers at restaurants like Nishi and Superiority Burger, vegan menus still get stigmatized as being all leaves and steamed veggies. Toad Style, a 14-seater in Bed-Stuy, fights against that reputation by frying, marinating, and smoking its ingredients to recreate the flavor of meat-heavy classics without using any animal-based ingredients -- that includes a jackfruit sandwich that’s as savory as anything at a typical barbecue restaurant.
A tropical fruit in the fig family, jackfruit is starchy and full of fiber. At Toad Style, it gets shredded (just like pulled pork) and smoked for an hour over hickory wood, making it extra tender. It’s then coated in a sweet and smoky house-made barbecue sauce and piled into a big puffy bun. Although it doesn’t have the exact texture of meat, the jackfruit is able to deliver all the smoky flavors of a barbecue sandwich. A layer of slightly sweet pickles and grilled cabbage slaw round out the $9 sandwich, which ends up so big and juicy that you’ll need at least eight napkins to clean up the mess.
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It's hard to tell what makes Bed-Stuy's Toad Style notable -- that it brings affordable vegan food choices to an area lacking them or that it's Kung Fu-themed. The spot is named after the 1978 martial arts movie Five Deadly Venoms, in which fighting masters assume the styles of different animals -- one of which is a you-know-what (ribbit ribbit). The 14-seat space keeps things lively with themed posters and a backyard, and the animal product-free menu will make you forget you ever liked meat. There's vegan ricotta ravioli, mushroom-lentil burgers, and grilled cheese made with almonds. We love the Jackfruit Sandwich best; tropical fruit filling resembles pulled pork in its shredded texture and sweet BBQ taste. Hop to it.